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Nike aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2025

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Nike is looking to improve its sustainability credentials by focusing on its materials.

Noel Kinder, director of sustainability at Nike, said 80% of the brand’s carbon footprint comes from sourcing its materials and manufacturing. While Nike is one of the largest users of recycled polyester in the world, Kinder said he believes the materials are where Nike can have the most impact. Kinder, at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland on November 4, signed a pledge with the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Alliance to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% and use 100% renewable energy by 2025. Currently, Nike is already at 80% renewable energy, says Kinder.

For a company as large as Nike – it made $ 44 billion this year – small changes can have a huge impact on the environment.

“We made our first recycled garment in 2006,” Kinder said. “It was just one jersey scratched for the Portuguese athletes. But now our volumes are so large that our recycled polyester alone reuses more than a billion plastic bottles per year. If you buy a random workout t-shirt from our store, it probably already contains recycled items. You start these trips small and work your way up.

Kinder pointed out that Space Hippie, a new line of Nike shoes launched last year and made from 90% recycled materials, was his biggest step forward. Seventy percent of all products made by Nike contain at least recycled material, but Nike wants to aim higher. A big part of achieving this is educating the consumer about the importance of sustainability, Kinder said.

Nike tracks the percentage of recycled materials used in each product (measured by weight) and then determines if it gets a “Sustainable Materials” designation on its website.

Another material, Nike’s leather alternative called Flyleather, will also be updated in 2022. Currently, Flyleather is made from 50% recycled leather, but that will change in the future. Kinder did not give further details on what the update would entail.

At COP26, Kinder said Nike also focused on using the weight it has in the manufacturing space to influence its partners. For example, Nike joined 28 other brands including H&M last year to encourage the country of Vietnam, where it does some of its manufacturing, to switch to renewable energy. While Nike’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025 only applies to its own offices, stores and factories, encouraging manufacturing partners to switch to renewables will help reduce global emissions from the business. And countless other brands that manufacture in Vietnam will benefit as well.

Working across corporate lines, like Nike with H&M, is becoming more and more mainstream when it comes to sustainability.

“On a day-to-day basis, you tend to see other businesses as competitors,” said Caroline Danehy, co-founder of swimwear brand Fair Harbor, part of the multi-brand sustainability group Mission Brand Alliance. “When it comes to sustainable development, you want everyone to participate, work together and not against each other. “

Kinder said he hopes more fashion brands will make specific commitments within specific deadlines, rather than making vague promises.

“I am fortunate to have relationships with my peers at other companies,” Kinder said. “I know almost all of them by their first name. It’s not a cliché, but there is no finish line on sustainability. We must put aside competition in this area. What we have to do [now] is to work faster towards these goals.