Sustainability, going green, eco-friendly have become trendy words, leading to “now and then” initiatives. Nike has been taking the green issue seriously for more than a year now and its efforts are being rewarded.
Indeed, according to Sports One Source, Nike ranked 23rd on Fast Company ‘s The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2011. The business magazine particularly praised its environmental design efforts.
Its profile on Nike stated, “Nike rescued 13 million used plastic bottles, melted them down, and wove them into polyester”. Then they created high-performance jerseys (eight bottles per shirt) worn by nine teams during last summer’s World Cup.
The company also released the Environmental Apparel Design Tool, which helps industry designers make environmentally friendly decisions. “We want to collaborate“, says Lorrie Vogel, general manager of Nike’s Considered team, which oversees the company’s sustainability efforts. “To learn how to thrive in a resource-restrained world, we have to hold everyone to the same standards.”
At the beginning, few industries were considering the going green issue within their business plan. It was at best an opportunity to tap into new customers and at worse getting the “we don’t care, it’s not our core business attitude”. What needs to be pointed out is that Nike is addressing the problem and bring a solution to all its categories.
I had an interesting discussion the other day with eco friendly experts. I was told that Nike is not the first in the sporting good industry to tackle the sustainability problem. Well, Nike may not have been the first, but their strategy to 1) raise awareness and 2) effectively embrace the problem and 3) to give a significant global reach has been so far the most efficient one.
Nike used the 2010 World Cup platform, the biggest football marketing platform, and football, one of their leading category, to “scream” that they are taking ownership of sustainability in football with their recycled football jerseys.
Then, Nike extended this initiative to all their categories. With the marketing talent they undoubtedly have, the job was done….and is now being awarded!