Friday, July 5, 2013

Nike is MAKING Sustainability a Team Sport

Many companies tout their socially responsible behaviors. They want us to know that they are looking out for the good of the world around while doing business with us.For some organizations, being socially responsible is more than a marketing claim. Instead, social responsibility is ingrained in their purpose and influences all business decisions made- including marketing strategy. This week, Nike made news for its efforts to instill a sustainability mindset with its designers and product creators. Nike's initiative holds promise not just for the sports industry but could be followed by any firm that makes or sells products.

MAKING Sustainability a Reality
Nike has introduced an app for its designer and creator partners that gives guidance on sustainability considerations for new product development, The app, called MAKING, will enable Nike's partners to make more informed choices about the materials used to create new products. Four impact categories- chemistry, energy, water, and waste- are rated using data from seven years of materials research and analysis conducted by Nike. Watch the video below for a quick demo of the app.

Sustainability is a Team Sport
Nike's MAKING app is noteworthy for two reasons. The first one is more obvious- Nike is not just talking about being socially responsible. The company has invested in resources to make more sustainable product development a reality. The second reason MAKING is noteworthy is that Nike is building a sustainability team by bringing these considerations to its design and creative partners on the front end of product development. Nike can espouse socially responsible beliefs all day long, but if its partners are not on board with the model it would much more difficult to implement. And, rather than imposing demands that would make Nike look good from a sustainability standpoint but not necessarily benefit partners, information sharing initiatives like the MAKING app make the supply chain more committed to sustainability.

Nike has taken a leadership position in making sustainability a priority with its partners. Businesses outside the sports industry should look to Nike's example for inspiration to strengthen their sustainability practices.  Working closely with supply chain partners appears to be the next team sport Nike is targeting. If its track record of business success in team sports is any indicator, Nike's sustainability efforts will be MAKING a huge difference in the future. - Nike Unveils New App to Help Designers Invent Better