Nike Paves the Way

07/12/2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

In an effort to further industry sustainability efforts, NIKE Inc.released its Environmental Apparel Design Tool, based on Nike’s Considered Design Index.  The release of the tool aims to accelerate collaboration between companies, fast-track sustainable innovation and decrease the use of natural resources such as oil and water.

Designed and built by Nike over seven years, with a six million dollar investment, the software-based Environmental Apparel Design Tool helps designers to make real time choices that decrease the environmental impacts of their work.

Recognizing the decline of natural resources and the need to move to a low-carbon economy, the tool is a practical way to rate how apparel designs score in reducing waste and increasing the use of environmentally preferred materials while allowing the designers to make real time adjustments.

Nike is committed to open innovation and welcomes others building and improving on this tool.

“This tool is about making it simple for designers to make the most sustainable choices right at the start of the product creation process.  Over the past four years it has proved to be invaluable at Nike and has helped us create products with a higher sustainability standard,” said Hannah Jones, Vice President of Nike Sustainable Business and Innovation.

“By releasing the tool we want others to improve on it and we hope to inspire further collaboration to create global industry standards for a level playing field, encourage widespread industry adoption of sustainable design practices and have more sustainable products available for the consumer.”

In the last year alone, Nike doubled its use of recycled polyester,  saving 82 million plastic bottles from landfill.  If all apparel companies committed to converting one third of their polyester garments to recycled polyester, the demand for recycled polyester would be greater than the annual production of plastic bottles, diverting PET bottles from landfill.

“Nike’s decision to open-source this design tool is a win-win because it leverages important intellectual capital to benefit an entire industry,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups that works with companies like Nike to address sustainability challenges.  “Whether for sneakers or cars, it is hugely important to integrate water, chemical, energy and waste considerations into all product design.  If all apparel companies use this tool, the impacts could be breathtaking, from less-clogged landfills to expanding our sustainable material industries.”

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainability for Marks & Spencer, who has worked closely with Nike for several years on sustainability issues, said:  “As a company committed to developing a sustainable business, we welcome this type of industry collaboration.  The Nike tool will help apparel companies and retailers design more sustainable product.  We firmly believe that sharing knowledge like this helps us all move towards a more sustainable future faster.”

These efforts come after Nike’s announcement earlier this year about the GreenXchange (GX), a Web-based marketplace where companies can collaborate and share intellectual property which can lead to new sustainability business models and innovation.  Nike committed to placing more than 400 patents on GX for research, demonstrating its belief that the best way to stimulate sustainable innovation is through open innovation.

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Entry filed under: Business, Environment, Organic Apparel, Sustainability, Textiles. Tags: , , , , .

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