Sustainable products need innovative materials
By Lorrie Vogel, Nike
Lorrie Vogel is general manager sustainable product research and discovery.
To date, Nike has used the index to assess 80,000 materials on chemistry, energy and emissions; water and land use; physical waste; organic or recycled content; and dye processes. The vendors themselves are scored on criteria such as compliance with Nike’s Restricted Substance List and Water Program requirements; if they take part in materials certification processes, such as the Global Recycle Standard; and whether they have ISO 14001 certification or operate out of certified green buildings.
Our design teams use a material’s index score in their material selection process as part of their overall product evaluation. As of 2011, we have collaborated with and trained 500 material vendors on the Nike Materials Sustainability Index and hope it will drive them to develop more environmentally preferred materials.
In addition, Nike has made the Index available to the apparel industry, sharing it with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which recently adopted it as the official materials assessment tool for its members. The coalition estimates that its members represent 30 percent of global apparel and footwear sales.
Nike’s long-term vision is to drive industry adoption of a standard practice of rating and reducing the environmental impact of footwear and apparel products. By creating higher standards for materials, measuring those standards and sharing what we learn with the entire industry, we hope to set new benchmarks for sustainability and performance. We believe that sustainable innovation means creating what we do want, not eliminating what we don’t want. The materials the world uses must get better. It’s a willingness to collaborate on game-changing innovation that will enable us to accelerate this transformation.
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