January 25, 2010: Athletic footwear giant Nike has released a Corporate Responsibility report in which it proclaims that “sustainability is key to Nike’s growth and innovation.” According to Nike, the report outlines the next evolution of its CR strategy from a "risk management, philanthropic and compliance model to a long-term strategy focused on innovation, collaboration, transparency and advocacy to prepare the company to thrive in a sustainable economy."
The report also details progress on Nike’s five-year CR goals and provides a comprehensive review of its CR efforts over the past three years, covering fiscal 2007 to 2009. (Full report available here.)
“Sustainability is key to Nike’s growth and innovation,” Mark Parker, Nike president and CEO, said in a statement. “Making our business more sustainable benefits our consumers who expect products and experiences with low environmental impact, contract factory workers who will gain from more sustainable manufacturing and our employees and shareholders who will be rewarded by a company that is prepared for the future.”
Nike said that its increased focus on "sustainable business and innovation" would be more "seamlessly integrated across Nike’s business strategies, creating a more sustainable approach aimed at providing greater returns to its business, communities, factory workers, consumers and the planet." Among its goals, Nike is aiming for a "closed-loop business model where the goal is to achieve zero waste in the supply chain and have products and materials that can be continuously reused."
Among its ongoing projects, Nike in 2008 launched a footwear energy efficiency program with five contract manufacturers and said it has shown "excellent early results: the contract factories’ absolute CO2 footprint was down 6% despite a 9% increase in production." Nike also has a line of athletic footwear, Trash Talk, being promoted by Steve Nash, all-star guard with the NBA's Phoenix Sun, that seeks to minimize environmental impact by "reducing waste throughout the design and development process, using environmentally preferred materials and eliminating toxics."
Nike focused on several key initiatives in its CR report, including:
* Considered design, which combines sustainability principles and innovative performance products for athletes by reducing or eliminating toxics and waste and increasing the use of environmentally preferred materials.
• GreenXchange, a Web-based marketplace designed to share intellectual property that can lead to new sustainability business models and innovation.
• Lean and human resource management.
• Sport for social change, which would enhance and build sports social entrepreneurs and community innovators to drive positive social, economic and cultural change.
• Energy and climate change strategy, advocating for strong U.S. climate and energy legislation with the aim of "creating a level playing field through a cost on carbon and unlocking innovation that is essential to creating technology and infrastructure solutions."
“The link between sustainability and Nike as a growth company has never been clearer,” Hannah Jones, vp-SB&I for Nike, said in a statement. “There are serious potential impacts of social, environmental and economic shifts on labor forces, youth sport, supply chains and products. This gives Nike the opportunity to use our power of innovation and our commitment to transparency and collaboration to tackle these complex issues.”