“Help protect the future of sport”

Environmental issues litter the fashion industry (pardon the pun). While now more than ever fashion labels and contributors to the industry alike are taking ownership of the collective responsibility they hold. To make the fashion industry a much ‘greener’, and eco-friendly sector. The focus in recent years has been a push towards re-useable or biodegradable materials. As well as a more transparent education and awareness being provided from a lot of the industries big brands. With none more so involved in these types of campaigns than the likes of sportswear tycoons Nike and Adidas. As Nike has recently taken a number of steps to personally clean up their business model in an initiative they are calling the Nike ‘Move to Zero’ which they say is going to “help protect the future of sport”.

This planned move towards a zero-carbon and zero-waste system is a direct response to climate change. More specifically the resulting factors that affect sport. Such as higher temperatures that affect athletes’ stamina, and the existence of snow sports’ playing fields. As after all, if climate change starts to hinder sport, it ultimately hurts Nike’s business model. The example Nike gave was “under current trends climate change could decrease time spent on the field by up to two months in parts of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi by 2050”.

What does the Nike Move to Zero entail?

According to Nike, their Move to Zero initiative will be making changes around their campus. As well as making alterations to their supply chain. In an attempt to “both minimize Nike’s environmental footprint as a business and maximize avenues for positive impact as a brand.” The official action plan has been presented as 5 points.

  1. Power owned-and-operated facilities with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
  2. Reduce carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 30 per cent by 2030.
  3. Nike diverts 99 per cent of all footwear manufacturing waste from landfills.
  4. Nike diverts more than 1 billion plastic bottles per year from landfills to create yarns for new jerseys and uppers for Flyknit shoes.
  5. The Reuse-A-Shoe and Nike Grind programs convert waste into new products, playgrounds, running tracks and courts.

Nike opens new distribution centre

In the lead up to the Nike Move to Zero announcements. It appears the brand had already begun to get the ball rolling. As Nike opens a new distribution centre on its European campus in Ham, Belgium. Which will be powered entirely by renewable energy. Something which clearly ticks the box for the 1st point on their Nike Move to Zero action plan as highlighted above.

Called the Court the new facility spans across 1.5 million square feet of land. Powered 100 per cent by locally generated renewable energy sources. Including wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass. Nike was able to achieve such an eco-friendly build by utilising a structure that was built in a rack-supported design. Which required less steel and concrete to construct. Keeping waste and material consumption lower. It’s also located in the midst of a network of canals, which Nike says enables 99 per cent of inbound containers to arrive by water. Effectively eliminating approximately 14,000 truck journeys per year. Aside from this, the company also says that more than 95 per cent of on-site waste will be recycled.

“Our new Court Distribution Center represents Nike’s continued investment in a fast and flexible supply chain to deliver the full range of our product to consumers when they want it, where they want it. This state-of-the-art facility will increase our responsiveness as we accelerate our digital growth and better serve millions of consumers across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.”

Nike Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk

Nike Joyride criticism

Some have suggested that this rather high profile and well-publicised move by Nike has come in almost direct response to criticisms from environmentalists over their newly released Nike Joyride. Which came under fire for its use of plastic microbeads in the sole unit of the technology. Accusing the brand of directly contributing to plastic pollution. While in comparison their biggest competitors in the footwear space Adidas are being openly heralded for their development of 3D printed footwear. Notably with their Futurecraft range picking up many accolades for their eco-friendly and recyclable construction.

So in reality, whether this is clever diversionary tactics from Nike or a genuine attempt to change the industry is yet to be determined. All we do know is that the whole fashion landscape is changing, and the microscope is on each and every brand that exists within. So we will soon find out who is going green, and who is just saying they are going green.

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