Posted by Sara Zucker on November 17, 2009 05:48 PM
Bangladesh's Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro-loans that help the poor start their own businesses, recently inspired Adidas to lower its training shoe prices to a staggering bargain for those in developing countries who can't afford regular prices: around €1.
This venture follows last month's news that the footwear giant would invest $100M to set up a manufacturing plant in the country. Adidas, which has been charged with labor exploitation in developing countries, sees this commitment as an opportunity to improve its image. Yunus stressed that his country needed "social businesses" to help create jobs, and Adidas has agreed to produce shoes in Bangladesh on a non-profit basis.
Adidas spokesman Jan Runau confirmed the agreement to begin production of the shoes in Bangladesh next year, but said the project was at an early stage. It has not been decided whether or not the shoes would carry the Adidas brand or its trademark three-stripes design.
The investment can have a big impact: garment workers in Bangladesh have an annual income of less than $1,396 per capita – making them the poorest paid in the world.
Though additional design and branding decisions have not been finalized, Adidas hopes that this move will improve its reputation for social responsibility. With million-dollar contracts and sponsorships on the company's bills each year, this philanthropic venture should aid everyone, including Adidas.