adidas and Nike Launch Revolutionary Sustainable Initiatives

Posted on


Hi everyone,
adidas and Nike are launching groundbreaking initiatives in sustainability. The 3-stripes will launch a revolutionary recycling programme while Nike partners with MIT Climate CoLab on materials innovation. The 2 sports giants commit more and more to reduce their environmental footprint.

“Farewell to recycling—it is now time for infinity-cycling,” is how adidas likes to say it.  Sport Infinity, their newly-announced 3-year research program, aims to create a football shoe that uses no chemical adhesives, creates no waste, and can be repeatedly recycled. 

Funded by the European Union, the program will employ people from various industries so that the shoes materials can be made from a combination of “anything from carbon used in an aircraft manufacturing to fibers of the boots that scored during the World Cup,” said adidas.

Gerd Manz, the Vice President of Technology and Innovation at adidas and the leader of the project, said, “Over the next three years, Sport Infinity aims to end the days of throwing away football boots.  Instead, every pair of boots is not just recycled but reimagined to the customer’s most personal specifications.”

Even though there has been some progress, the technology is not yet complete.  The first prototype had an upper made from waste plastic and fishing net fibers, but the sole was still made from new plastic.  Even so, adidas still has three years until the debut to perfect their materials and methods.

With how important environmental sustainability is becoming, adidas is making huge, industry-leading strides and continues to show committment to their green initiative.

As for Nike, in order to reduce its environmental footprint and enable business growth, the swoosh announced two efforts today aimed at furthering that commitment: a collaboration with MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Climate CoLab to bring innovation in materials to the forefront of the climate conversation, and a commitment to reach 100 percent renewable energy in company-owned-and-operated facilities by 2025.

“For more than a decade, we’ve worked hard to understand where our greatest impacts lie. We know materials make up about 60 percent of the environmental impact in a pair of Nike shoes,” said Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Innovation Accelerator at NIKE. “This knowledge has focused us on the need to bring new low-impact performance materials to scale through innovative solutions.”

According to research by MIT’s Materials System Laboratory about the global impact of materials on climate change, the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric per year — representing nearly enough material to cover the state of California — and is estimated to consume nearly 1 billion kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity every year. According to the research, creating and processing materials are significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Through this collaboration with Nike, the MIT Climate CoLab can help kick-start the conversation around materials by galvanizing our global community to start to tackle this immense challenge,” said Professor Thomas W. Malone, Principal Investigator and Founder of the MIT Climate CoLab project.

“The Climate CoLab is harnessing the power of collective thinking to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges and develop solutions to drive a new shared understanding that, ultimately, can enable transformative change.”

The MIT Climate CoLab Materials Challenge, opened for submissions, seeks revolutionary new ideas for how to engage industries, designers and consumers in valuing, demanding and adopting low-impact fabrics and textiles.

Once materials are created and sourced, they go into the hands of designers, which is why Nike created the MAKING App, a predictive app that helps designers and product creators make better decisions about their materials choices. Nike recently updated the app to highlight the climate-related impact of materials choices alongside chemistry, waste and water.

NIKE’s partnership with the Climate CoLab builds on its ongoing research into materials innovation as part of launch — the strategic collaboration with NASA, the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — dedicated to developing sustainable materials solutions.

“We believe in treating sustainability as an innovation opportunity that can deliver new scalable, sustainable solutions that will accelerate us into a low carbon economy,” Jones said. “Our goal is to help catalyze and unleash innovators, investors, companies and civil society to solve one of the world’s largest innovation opportunities together.” [Source: Sustainable Brands & Sport Tecchie]

adidas and Nike are more and more taking strong leadership in sustainability in sports, and show their long term strategy to protect the environment. 

Karl Lusbec