Nike seeks to ferret out non-green biz partners

Oregon-based Nike last week introduced a new, light, green soccer shoe.
Courtesy Nike

Nike Inc. officials said Monday they’ve reached an agreement with a Swiss company that will help the local company procure more sustainable materials and chemistry types.

Nike (NYSE: NKE) will work with bluesign technologies in an effort to gain access to materials suppliers at what Nike said is “an unprecedented scale and pace.” The bluesign company will help Nike find pre-screened sustainable textile preparations, including dye systems, detergents and other process chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

All told, bluesign’s data and other tools can verify whether some 30,000 items meet Nike’s sustainability standards.

Nike will begin using the tools to analyze more than 800 factories in about 50 countries.

The Washington County company had introduced a Restricted Substances List in 2001 based on stringent worldwide legislation. Nike also wants to eliminate hazardous substances through internal processes and policies.

“Nike is committed to catalyzing a major change in the world of materials, driving for the elimination of hazardous substances and innovating new, sustainable materials,” said Hannah Jones, Nike’s VP of sustainable business and innovation. “To shift to a palette of entirely sustainable materials multiple stakeholders must work together to innovate new chemistry, encourage the use and scale of better chemistry, and eliminate harmful chemistry.”

Some 60 percent of the environmental impact from a pair of shoes is in the material a company uses to make them. Jones said Nike wants to limit that effect by working with communities where its textiles are crafted.

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