by Brian Collett — Nike, the multinational footwear and apparel group, has opened an expanded distribution hub at its European centre with the claim that it has taken 14,000 annual lorry journeys off the roads of the continent.
As many as 99% of inbound containers now reach its container park by water – hence the environmental boast.
The contribution to climate change control is one of many environmental improvements that Nike says now characterise the centre, which has just undergone the fifth and largest expansion in its 22-year history.
The centre, at Laakdal, Belgium, chosen for its easy links to the whole of Europe, allows Nike to supply retail, wholesale and online customers in 38 countries from a single location. The business it conducts in Europe grosses billions of dollars every year.
The company says it has followed the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system devised by the US Green Building Council.
This system has set standards for the planning, constructing, maintaining and operating of buildings in an environmentally acceptable manner. As a result, water and energy use, emissions and waste are reduced.
Nike claims its 1.6 million sq. ft site is energy-neutral as it is powered from renewable wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass sources. Additional power comes from six 492 foot-high wind turbines that produce enough electricity to run 5,000 households, and from solar panels covering an area as big as three soccer fields.
The cranes used for moving goods are energy-regenerative – the heat resulting from their movement is captured and converted into power for other cranes and machinery.
The goods are stored in a rack-supported warehouse that uses fewer materials and produces less waste than a steel and concrete structure.
Windows and a daylight capture system fill the building with as much natural light as possible, while roofs covered with vegetation insulate it.
More than 95% of the waste produced is recycled, and the pathways are made from recycled footwear material.
Efficient water use is managed with closed loops incorporating storm and discharge water buffering, infiltration and recycling.
Nike tries to aid biodiversity by keeping bees, which pollinate flowers and contribute to the locality’s ecology. Sheep are on the site, too – their feeding keeps down the grass, performing a task normally done by power-hungry lawnmowers.
The company maintains the environmental measures at its expanded warehouse makes it more efficient, responsive and sustainable and accelerates its drive towards being “the supply chain of the future”.
A statement from the company details the thinking: “Nike’s environmental policy is informed by a single moonshot goal – to double our business whilst halving our environmental impact.
“This can only be achieved through sustainable innovation, which Nike believes is a powerful engine for growth, and which involves three key aims – to minimise environmental impact, transform manufacturing, and unleash human potential.
“The new distribution centre at the Nike European Logistics Campus is the most advanced, sustainable distribution centre in Nike’s global supply chain, with sustainability embedded from drawing board to reality.”