Market News

 May 02, 2012
Nike to cut environmental footprint with green shoe design app

 Nike is set to launch an interactive sustainability report, allowing customers to design a pair of trainers using greener materials in a bid to raise awareness of its efforts to curb the environmental footprint of its supply chain.

The footwear giant is this week due to launch its annual sustainability report, providing an update on efforts to reduce its own impact and the steps it will be taking to help its supply chain become greener.

Speaking to BusinessGreen ahead of the launch, Hannah Jones, Nike's vice president of sustainable business and innovation, said the report would showcase its so-called "Considered index", which Nike's 600 designers use to choose between 75,000 different materials.

"Our report will give an ability to play and pretend you're a designer so you can bring it to life," she said. "One of the goals of the report is to bring all this geeky stuff into real speak, and make it fun so people really understand what it means."

Nike also uses the index to score designers based on how much products reduce waste and toxic chemicals, and make use of environmentally preferred materials, such as Better Cotton. Eventually, Nike aims to create fully closed loop products, using the fewest possible materials, which could be recycled into new products or returned to nature at the end of their life.

Jones said almost all of its footwear designers had met the bronze standard for environmental design and that the company had now set a target for them to reach a silver standard.

She added that the report marked a pivotal point in the sportswear giant's sustainability strategy, moving from making efficiency savings to developing "disruptive innovations".

Jones also said the company has made significant progress to "detox" the wider industry's supply chain, following a major campaign by Greenpeace last year urging high street brands to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals in the supply chain.

She said Nike has shared its restricted substances list with other brands in an industry coalition formed as a result of the campaign, which also includes Adidas and H&M.

"We're sending the signal that this will become a procurement issue so we will be aligning incentives and sanctions across our supply chain so that we encourage those materials vendors and the factories that move forwards," Jones added.