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“Sustainability should be something you are, not something you do”

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Diadora was born in 1948 as a producer of mountain shoes. Since then it has grown into an international player in the sports, lifestyle and utility (safety) footwear markets. Today the brand is present in more than 60 countries around the world and continues to expand with a wide range of products belonging to three different categories: shoes and clothing, focused on performance sports lines – with particular emphasis on running, tennis and football – on fashion and style, with the high-end Heritage collection and an urban and safety sportswear line. FashionUnited spoke to Enrico Moretti Polegato, President of Diadora, about his plans to compete in the highly competitive sports market, his plans for the German market and the production line in his home country.

On the German market, you are present as well with sportswear as with your utility lines. How do you summarize Diadora’s positioning in Germany?

Sport is the brand identity of Diadora. Even though we have three different branches of activity, new projects are always born from sport. In Germany, we want to be identified by sport, but we are present with our three branches. In sports, we work in running, tennis and football.

The main driver of our growth, including in Germany, is Running, where we are present in the most important running points of sale. We are still at the start of our expansion strategy in the German market, but we are already seeing the first very positive commercial results. In F / W 21 we will be present in 67 gates. And we anticipate significant growth for I / O 22. In Running, our identity is based on innovation, including our patented Blushield technology, a shoe that guarantees stability while running, which is good for both pronators and pronators. for supinators. Innovation is a constant process and we just launched a new running shoe called Volo, a lightweight running shoe.

In Sportswear, we are present in Germany in high-end doors, in particular with our Heritage collection. Heritage is our luxury line and includes re-editions of our historic athletic shoes suitable for athletic wear, but not performance footwear.

In Safety, our goal is to be the most innovative safety brand in the world, because we want to contribute to the well-being of the worker through innovation. One of our main innovations is the Net Airbox, developed in collaboration with our sister company Geox, a breathable technology for safety shoes. Another very important new product is Glove Eco, an innovative safety shoe with durable characteristics in every component. It will be sold worldwide through very selected resellers. We are growing steadily in German-speaking markets in complete security.

How do you compete in the running market with giants like Nike and Adidas?

Competition forces us to be different. This approach is paying off given the excellent figures for the American market. The market is practically owned by a few big players, but our numbers are growing double digits every year. This performance is also due to our blend of authenticity in sport – we have been making athletic shoes for 73 years – and our Italian style, as well as a great deal of attention to our customers.

Diadora has returned to service an old production plant in Caerano di San Marco (Treviso) which had been shut down for more than 15 years. A few years ago, we wrote that you wanted to produce 100,000 pairs of shoes in the revived factory. Did this plan work?

Yes, we are now around five percent of our Made in Italy production. Our in-house production line includes the Glove Eco and the most important heritage shoes made by Diadora. In the future, we will increase this percentage. A sister project to re-shoring to Italy is near-shoring on which we also want to focus. The goal is to have a shorter supply chain.

In your Utility branch you now offer a new personalization service. Tell us more about it.

As part of the general B2C and B2B digitalization strategy, we will be launching a new internal e-commerce site in a few months, while a few weeks ago we offered our customers a new personalization service, an opportunity to personalization of safety clothing. in Diadora Utility. Our customers can personalize their uniform online with their logo or company image or whatever they want.

With Eco Glove you step into the realm of sustainability. Are you going to deploy it on other models?

I want to deploy sustainability throughout the company, not just the product. It must be something that you are, not something that you do. As human beings, we consume. So, I think we have to act in a sustainable way in our personal and professional lives. What we can do is improve ourselves step by step, just like in sport. So far, as a company, we have acted on three channels. We have had the supply chain and each of our suppliers certified and audited by an independent entity called EcoVadis. Our head office has also been certified by EcoVadis and received gold, which means that we are among the 5% of the most audited companies.

We are also working on the products and after Glove Eco we will soon be launching a sustainable version of our other iconic models. We have already given up on certain materials that do not comply with our sustainable development policy, namely kangaroo leather, which was used for football boots. We have also replaced the packaging of our Heritage line shoe boxes with a special material composed of excess algae from marine environments. And there is more to come in terms of sustainable products.

We are also working to make the company itself sustainable. We have abolished the use of plastics at headquarters, such as bottles and cups, and in the near future, the energy consumed in our headquarters will be 100% renewable.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.DE, translated and edited in English.

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