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Nike Sustainability Report: Aims for 20% CO2, 15% Water, 10% Waste Cuts by 2015

Nike has committed itself to a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per unit, a 15 percent improvement in water use per unit of production and a 10 percent reduction in waste from manufacturing by financial year 2015, measured against a financial year 2011 baseline, according to the company’s 2010-2011 sustainability report.

Nike’s carbon emissions reduction will be judged against the sportswear giant’s footprint in the built environment, inbound transportation and footwear manufacturing. In FY 2011 the company used 19.7 percent more energy and emitted 16.6 percent more carbon that FY 2010, while increasing revenues by 10 percent over that time period.

In FY 2010 the company used 12,532 Tj of energy and emitted 1,406,100 metric tons of CO2. These figures rose to 15,006 Tj and 1,640,700 tCO2 in FY 2011. Revenues rose from $19 billion to $20.9 billion in that time.

Nike’s 2010-11 energy use and emission rates are at broadly similar levels to those in FY 2008, but revenues in that year were just $18.6 billion, the company’s 2010-2011 sustainability report said.

The company’s strategy to reduce these totals is based on increasing its manufacturers’ participation in its carbon program and increasing company-wide use of renewable energy. Through FY 2012 the company plans to increase the number of stores entering renewable energy purchase power agreements. Renewable power is already being used at two distribution centers in Belgium and Shanghai.

The strategy also plans to employ LEED building practices on new buildings used by the company. Currently three Nike office buildings, 10 stores and the Shanghai distribution center have LEED certification, the report says.

The company is still working to assess its total water footprint and as such has not supplied any figures for past water use. So far it estimates that annual water use at Nike-owned and operated facilities totals 325 million gallons. Textile mills use about 3 billion gallons of water a year to process cotton and polyester for Nike products, but these mills are not owned by Nike. The company’s contract footwear manufacturers uses 3.5 billion gallons of water a year. (See chart, below).

The Nike Water Program is currently tracking more than 60 billion gallons of water use, but only about a tenth of that figure is related to fabrics used to make Nike products. Earlier this year the company announced a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V., a Netherlands-based company that has developed and built the first commercially available waterless textile dyeing machines.

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