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Harvard and Stanford Examine NIKE, Inc.’s Approach to Sustainable Innovation

Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) recently published two separate case studies that examine the history of NIKE, Inc.’s work to embed and scale sustainable innovation across the company and its contract supply chain.

Yesterday, in front of 900 Harvard first-year MBA students in the School’s required course on Leadership and Corporate Accountability, Eric Sprunk, NIKE Chief Operating Officer, and Hannah Jones, NIKE Vice President, Innovation Accelerator & Chief Sustainability Officer, introduced Harvard’s new NIKE case study, entitled Governance and Sustainability at Nike, for the first time at HBS.  

The new case studies trace NIKE’s journey as one of the first companies faced with issues in its global supply chain to one that now actively pursues sustainable innovation as a part of the company’s long-term growth.   

The new cases include first-person accounts from Hannah Jones and Eric Sprunk, who both sit on NIKE’s CR Committee of the Board, and draw upon commentary from NIKE President and CEO Mark Parker and former NIKE Board Member and CR Committee Chair Jill Ker Conway, to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the people, processes and programs that helped drive and continue to transform the organization.   Both case studies can be accessed from the respective schools at the links below:

Harvard Business School

The Harvard case study places particular emphasis on NIKE’s governance processes and approach to embedding sustainability into the business, embracing transparency and pursuing innovation as a means to help achieve long-term growth. More information on the HBS case study.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

The Stanford case study examines how the company moved from an approach of managing risk and reacting to criticism related to labor and sustainability practices to pursuing an agenda of innovation as a means to make systemic, lasting change throughout NIKE and its supply chain. More information on the Stanford GSB case study.