From the start, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was promoting light-weight products to reduce the amount of waste. After criticism for the use of child labor in the 1990’s, Nike’s sustainability program accelerated. Apart from labor conditions, the use of organic cotton in the jersey t-shirts and environmentally preferred rubber were one of the first achievements. By 2007, more than 50% of the Nike footwear models contained this eco-friendly rubber, eliminating 3,000 tons of toxic materials annually.
One of the key challenges for Nike that remained, was the dyeing process of textile. The traditional process is very water consuming. To process one kg of textile material, an estimated 100-150 liters of water is needed. With an industry that will produce 39 million tons of polyester annually by 2015, this impact is enormous. Furthermore, global NGO Greenpeace issued a report in 2011 linking Nike, Adidas, and others to hazardous chemicals from dyeing in public water ways in China. After an 8-year research period, Nike was therefore eager to announce a partnership with Dutch DyeCoo Textile Systems to start working with waterless dyeing technology.
DyeCoo uses recycled carbon dioxide to eliminate the use of water in the textile dyeing process. “There is no water consumption, a reduction in energy use, no auxiliary chemicals required, no need for drying, and the process is twice as fast,” says Reinier Mommaal, CEO of DyeCoo. Nike made a commitment to partner with several stakeholders to scale the technology throughout the industry. With this innovative technique, Nike is pledging to eliminate any possible sustainability issues in its supply chain. Nike’s spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi, adds: “We’re going to continue to look for innovative companies that share our interest and vision. You’ll probably see more stories like this.”
For more information on sustainable supply chain management, please contact Jan van der Kaaij, managing partner, at email@example.com call +31 6 28 02 18 80.