BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 30 September '15

Nike joins RE100, commits to 100% renewables and focuses on innovating materials to combat climate change

Nike has announced a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab to bring innovation in materials to the forefront of the climate conversation.

The announcement follows Nike’s commitment to reach 100% renewable energy in company-owned and operated facilities by 2025.

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New materials

According to research by MIT’s Materials System Laboratory, the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric per year – representing nearly enough material to cover the state of California – and is estimated to consume nearly 1 billion kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity every year.

According to the research, creating and processing materials are significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions.

‘Through this collaboration with Nike, the MIT Climate CoLab can help kick-start the conversation around materials by galvanising our global community to start to tackle this immense challenge.

‘The Climate CoLab is harnessing the power of collective thinking to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges and develop solutions to drive a new shared understanding that, ultimately, can enable transformative change.’

Professor Thomas W. Malone, Principal Investigator and Founder of the MIT Climate CoLab project

MIT Climate CoLab Materials Challenge

The MIT Climate CoLab Materials Challenge, which is now open for submissions, seeks revolutionary new ideas for how to engage industries, designers and consumers in valuing, demanding and adopting low-impact fabrics and textiles.

‘For more than a decade, we’ve worked hard to understand where our greatest impacts lie. We know materials make up about 60% of the environmental impact in a pair of Nike shoes. This knowledge has focused us on the need to bring new low-impact performance materials to scale through innovative solutions.’

Hannah Jones, chief sustainability officer and VP, Innovation Accelerator, NIKE, Inc.

The MAKING App

Nike has created a predictive app that helps designers and product creators make better decisions about their materials choices. Nike recently updated the MAKING App to highlight the climate-related impact of materials choices alongside chemistry, waste and water.

‘We believe in treating sustainability as an innovation opportunity that can deliver new scalable, sustainable solutions that will accelerate us into a low carbon economy.

‘Our goal is to help catalyse and unleash innovators, investors, companies and civil society to solve one of the world’s largest innovation opportunities together.’

Hannah Jones, chief sustainability officer and VP, Innovation Accelerator, NIKE, Inc.

Beyond materials

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

Last week Nike joined RE100, a global campaign led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP that’s designed to engage, support and showcase influential businesses making similar commitments.

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.

Click here to find out more about Nike’s sustainability programme.