In 2002, Nike develops an environmentally-preferred rubber for footwear outsoles that contains 96% fewer toxins by weight than the original formulations.
In 2008, Nike releases the Trash Talk - the first performance basketball shoe that gives a second life to waste from the factory floor. The shoe’s upper is pieced together from leather and synthetic leather waste from the factory floor using zig-zag stitching, the mid-sole uses scrap-ground foam from factory production and the outsole uses environmentally-preferred rubber.
In 2008, Nike launches the Air Jordan XX3 - the most innovative shoe Nike has designed to-date, incorporating sustainability without sacrificing performance. Innovation was at the heart of the design which resulted in Nike developing a ground-breaking, water-based bonding process that allows the carbon fiber plate to be attached without the use of solvent-based cements. This is a first for Nike performance footwear.
In 2012, Nike introduces the high-performance Nike Flyknit Racer, the production of which significantly reduces waste because yarns and fabric variations are precisely engineered only where they are needed for a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper.
Nike has come a long way on its sustainable innovation journey.
What began in the 1990s as a response to issues in a complex supply chain has evolved into a business insight at the core of Nike’s growth strategy – one that focuses on delivering innovations across its supply chain to create products that are better for athletes, its business, and the planet.
That evolution, which turns risk into an innovation opportunity by embracing transparency and collaboration, makes sense for business and can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
As Nike President and CEO Mark Parker put it:
“Nike succeeds because we’re obsessed with innovation. We are relentlessly curious about our world and how we can make it better. We apply that curiosity to our sustainability efforts, and we continue to learn what is required for real, meaningful progress.”
So how did Nike go from the starting line to running full speed toward a more sustainable future? Click on the graphic below to explore some of the major milestones.