It takes more non-renewable energy and materials than is favorable to produce most of the shoes and clothes we wear today. Ultimately, the companies that do so are directly responsible for the more volatile world they’ve created for their customers. Hence, many big-name brands now face undeniable pressure to at least right their wrongs. On Thursday, moments before the global climate strike, Nike revealed its new sustainability initiative, “Move to Zero,” to the public. This isn’t Nike’s first brush with eco-consciousness, but Move to Zero concretizes its commitment to sustainability. With a combination of goals big and small, Nike plans on becoming an exemplary zero-carbon/waste corporation.
Key Move to Zero Initiatives
1 – “Nike will power owned-and-operated facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.”
2 – “Nike will reduce carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 30 percent by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015.”
3 – “Nike diverts 99 percent of all footwear manufacturing waste from landfills.”
4 – “Additionally, 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.”
It’s definitely reassuring to see that some of the initiatives outlined here are already full-blown projects. Today, there are more than 10,000 Nike Grind surfaces across the globe. In 2017, the company developed Nike Flyleather, a “super material” made of at least 50% recycled leather processed with less water and a smaller carbon footprint than what traditional leather requires.
These are the kinds of short-term goals that Nike wants to continue achieving to actually “move to zero” in the grand scheme of things. Still in doubt? Consider this: Nike has walked the talk with efforts to fight climate change for several decades now. Move to Zero is just proof that there is consistency in Nike’s dedication to circularity.
What This Means for Athletes
Indoor sports are not for everyone. With that being said, those who play outdoor sports need protection. Runners underperform in higher temperatures, and other sports’ policies have had to accommodate extra measures to cope with heat. The number of quality snowboarding days in a year has dropped to 7% since the 80s, and that slope is nowhere near change right now.
Athletes will only have a more secure future if these side effects are reversed. Move to Zero strives for sustainability in both the environment and the “athletic workforce”. These obviously go hand in hand in this situation, so the question of whether Nike takes up the responsibility or not is critical.
Some will question Move to Zero’s reliability, maybe even accuse Nike of greenwashing, because the practice is growing in popularity. However, Nike has always made it clear that the initiatives it undertakes are not “just for kicks.” For years now, sustainability has been in the company’s focus. At this point, Move to Zero seems promising, but only time will tell.