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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Nike Significantly Reduces Carbon Footprint, Sustainable Business Summary Shows


Can a very popular shoe company make strides to be more sustainable while continuing to grow? The latest Sustainable Business Performance Summary by Nike, Inc. proves that a company can grow while doing good for the environment. The summary outlines all of Nike's sustainability achievements, which include energy, waste and water reduction. Those achievements include a 26 percent energy use reduction per unit processed in major global distribution centers from 2011 to 2013. The company also achieved a 16 percent energy use per square foot in corporate offices from 2011 to 2013.

Carbon reduction is another achievement outlined in the summary. By the end of 2013, the footwear company achieved a 13 percent reduction in carbon emissions per unit, towards the goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2015. Nike reduced  carbon emissions per unit in Nike Brand footwear manufacturing by 17 percent from 2011 to 2013, and reduced carbon emissions per unit in inbound transportation by 29 percent from 2011 to 2013. In addition, the company reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8 percent from 2011 to 2013 while achieving a revenue growth of 26 percent.

Other achievements outlined in the report include:


  • Reduced waste from finished goods manufacturing across Nike, Inc. by 8.6 percent, against a 10 percent target

  • Reduced average shoebox weight per unit by three percent against a 10 percent target

  • Reduced manufacturing waste in Nike Brand footwear by 35 percent since 2005

  • Diverted 44 of waste from landfills in 2013 at Nike World Headquarters

  • Diverted 92 percent of waste from landfills in 2013 at major global distribution centers

  • Improved water efficiency by 23 percent per unit in apparel materials dyeing and finishing, as well as in footwear manufacturing, from 2011 to 2013 -- surpassing its 15 percent goal, despite an almost 20 percent increase in production

  • Increased participation in the Nike Water Program by 50 percent from 2011 to 2013

  • Made the H2O*Insight Tool available to the industry in 2011, and currently 95 non-Nike manufacturing facilities and three non-Nike, Inc. brands are using the tool

  • Contract footwear manufacturers have improved efficiency of gallons of water per pair by 23 percent compared from 2011 to 2013

  • Nike Brand apparel dyeing and finishing vendors have improved their efficiency of liters per kilogram by 10 percent from 2011 to 2013

Retail stores in North America increase purchase of RECS, two distribution centers produce renewable energy

Nike Brand retail stores in North America have increased their purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). In 2013, North American retail stores offset 46 percent of their energy use through purchasing RECs. All 204 of North American retail stores purchased RECs in 2013, up from only 2 percent of stores in 2012.

Two of Nike’s key global distribution centers produce their own renewable energy. The European Logistics Center in Laakdal, Belgium, has six wind turbines with generation capacity of 1.5 megawatts (MW) each, as well as a solar installation. Together, they generated 14.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2012 and 17.6 million kWh in 2013. The Nike China Logistics Center in Taichang has a solar heating system that produces renewable energy for the facility, including 97,000 kWh in 2012, and 123,000 kWh in 2013.

Nike increases contract factory assessments

Nike uses its Sourcing & Manufacturing Sustainability Index (SMSI) to assess contract factory performance. At the end of 2011, 49 percent of its contract factories scored bronze on the SMSI. By the end of 2013, 68 percent had reached that score. Factories that do not achieve bronze level performance within a defined timeframe are reviewed by senior leadership and are given penalties, such as a reduction in orders and are even considered for removal from its contract factory base. In 2013, 94 percent of its contract factories went through a full assessment of labor, health, safety and environmental compliance. The same year, violations were recorded in 16 percent of factories, a drop from 29 percent in 2012, partly due to Nike’s decision to reduce its contract factory base.

Photo: cheukiecfu

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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