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Nike sets new sustainability goals

By Kristopher Fraser

Apr 14, 2021

After rolling out its new sneaker refurbishing program, Nike also has plans for furthering its sustainability goals. The company is currently exploring new business models to extend the life of their products, and the company has also joined the Science Based Targets initiative, which calls for business to lead the way toward a zero-carbon economy.

By 2030, Nike has a set a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent in their owned and operated spaces, and by 30 percent across the extended supply chain. Over the next five years, Nike is focusing on reducing 0.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by increasing their use of environmentally preferred materials to 50 percent of all key materials, decarbonizing their supply chain, and using renewable electricity and fleet electrification.

“As we move forward, we’ll draw on lessons learned journey so far — including setbacks as well as breakthroughs,” said Noel Kinder, Nike’s chief sustainability officer, in a statement. “Looking back over the past five years, for instance, we fell short of meeting our FY20 carbon reduction goals. Despite reducing material waste and expanding renewable energy, we faced challenges with shifts to more complex materials and product designs, inbound airfreight, and changes to the electric grid in some of our primary manufacturing regions. In relying on aggregate metrics, such as average product carbon footprint, we missed opportunities to sharpen focus our biggest carbon ‘hotspots.’”

The three main pillars of Nike’s sustainability focus currently include sustainable materials, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. The company Is accelerating research and development around sustainable materials and is exploring opportunities to bring low-carbon alternatives to market at scale.

In addition, Nike is pushing deeper into their extended value chain, which generates the vast majority of their greenhouse gas emissions, to slow the trajectory of emissions — even as their business grows. The company is looking at investing in solar power and alternative fuels to help curb their carbon footprint.

Nike has also set accountability benchmarks, quarterly scorecards, and is even tying executive compensation to their progress. Kinder stepped into his role as Nike’s chief sustainability officer in 2018, and since then the company has incrementally become more sustainable through sustainably minded partnerships and reforming its supply chain.