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Nike Challenge Seeks ‘Revolutionary’ New Low-Impact Materials

Nike logoNike on Friday announced two efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and enable business growth: a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Climate CoLab to bring innovation in materials to the forefront of the climate conversation, and a commitment to reach 100-percent renewable energy in company-owned and operated facilities by 2025.

Materials make up about 60 percent of the environmental impact in a pair of Nike shoes, says Hannah Jones, Nike chief sustainability officer. Because of this, the company has focused on developing new, low-environmental-impact performance materials to market.

According to research by MIT’s Materials System Laboratory about the global impact of materials on climate change, the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric per year and is estimated to consume nearly 1 billion kWh of electricity every year. According to the research, creating and processing materials are significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions.

The MIT Climate CoLab Materials Challenge, opening for submissions Sept. 25, seeks new ideas for how to engage industries, designers and consumers in valuing, demanding and adopting low-impact fabrics and textiles.

Once materials are created and sourced, they go into the hands of designers, which is why Nike created the MAKING App, a predictive app that helps designers and product creators make better decisions about their materials choices. Nike recently updated the app to highlight the climate-related impact of materials choices alongside chemistry, waste and water.

To target the environmental impacts that extend beyond materials, Nike today also announced its commitment to reach 100-percent renewable energy in company-owned or operated facilities by 2025.

Last week during NCY Climate Week 2015 Nike joined RE100, a global campaign led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

Nike has already implemented on-site renewable energy generation at some of its largest facilities, including solar panels at the China Logistics Center in Taicang, and solar panels and wind turbines at the company’s renewable energy-powered European Logistics Campus in Belgium.



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