How Nike Incorporates Modern Sustainability Into A Decades-Old Company

Hannah Jones, Nike’s chief sustainability officer, discusses how Nike plans to rethink methods of production for more eco-friendly factories and products, while still maintaining the quality customers know and trust.

I see a lot of startups these days who are indeed starting with sustainability just built in from the beginning. We have a different challenge, which is we are retrofitting an old model. But at Nike we’re lucky, because we like to disrupt ourselves.

Now, we’re a really fast-growing company, so we have a massive footprint. We serve customers all over the world, we have a value chain that stretches around the world. If you narrow it down, the first thing we do is we obsess the data. So we obsess, where is our footprint? So then we narrow it down further and we say, well, what are those key materials? Well, it’s cotton and it’s polyester and it’s leather.

Well, how can we think about reducing their footprint? And that’s where our innovation acumen comes in. So we come up with solutions around moving to organic cotton or better cotton. We’re even looking at radical alternatives to cotton. We’re in the factories, we’re, even down to the raw materials, thinking about how can we do this differently? How can we reduce those limits in that old thinking and transform and serve the customer?