We work closely with our supply chain–from materials vendors to contracted factories–to understand the chemicals being used and to implement leading chemicals management practices
Nike's Restricted Substance List (RSL), established in 2001, is a list of chemicals banned or restricted in our products. We review and update the list as new alternatives become available, new regulations are passed and Nike's corporate commitments expand. Our RSL chemical standards meet or exceed regulatory and legislative requirements from around the world and include substances that we have voluntarily restricted from products. Our suppliers must comply with these restrictions; any material that fails its RSL test is considered defective and prevented from entering production.
In 2017, Nike aligned with the AFIRM Group RSL on chemical limits. This move is a milestone for the industry in driving change across the supply chain.
In addition, Nike works with the industry to address chemical use further up the value chain through the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation (ZDHC), which has developed a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) for facilities that process textiles, leather, and synthetic leather. Nike has adopted the ZDHC's MSRL and provides information and training to vendors and suppliers about sourcing, use and discharge of chemicals.
We also worked with the ZDHC to develop, adopt and launch new Wastewater Guidelines which lay out a unified set of expectations on wastewater quality for the entire textile and footwear industry. We enforce these requirements through supply agreements that include adherence to our RSL, in addition to our Code of Conduct which includes health and safety standards that cover safe handling and use of chemicals.
We increasingly focus our efforts in early stages, including dyeing and finishing operations in our materials supply chain, as those processes carry some of the greatest chemical use and, therefore, the greatest opportunity for minimizing impacts.
DRIVING BETTER PRACTICES
To drive greater visibility and accountability, in FY15 Nike undertook a Chemical Data Transparency pilot project in Taiwan, asking vendors to measure and share their performance against the ZDHC MRSL. The project focused on data and measurement standards, and resulted in improved transparency regarding vendors’ chemical use, providing insights to us and to the industry.
We measure factories’ water usage through self-reported data and through the China Pollution Map Database, developed by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), to screen facilities in China for wastewater violations. Of the 811 facilities that actively report their wastewater to us in some capacity, 99% were compliant, at a minimum, with local regulations in FY15.
In late 2016, Nike, along with the ZDHC, adopted new Wastewater Guidelines for suppliers. Early in 2017 Nike shared these guidelines and its expectation for reporting with relevant suppliers.