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Q: Do Adidas employ children in their factories?

A Adidas have stated on their website that the workplace rules for the factories they contract to manufacture their products are as follows:

  1. They do not employ children under 15.
  2. They do not employ children under the age required to finish compulsory education.

That means no children under 15 will be employed by the factories that make Adidas products, and in some countries the rules ensure that children may be 16-18 before they are eligible for employment. The age limit is in line with most European countries: where children are of employable age at 15-16. Many western companies have come under scrutiny for hiring children in their supplier' factories since they moved production to Asia in the 1980's and 1990's. Adidas began moving production to Asia in 1993 - to bring the company back into profitability - and over 60% of the factories they contract to make their products are in the Asia-Pacific region. Adidas have contracted over 600 factories in the Asia-Pacific region to make their products, and audit and monitor these factories to ensure they do not break child labour rules/laws. The UK's Independent newspaper did report in 2012 - the article was written by Kathy Marks - that Indonesian workers had called Adidas' audits "farcical". While it is debatable whether audits and rules are strictly enforced in Adidas factories, the rules Adidas have in place are clearly presented online.