Around 2000, Nike was getting targeted as one of the big companies around the world for their manufacturing (do we need to remind you of the sweatshop labor rallies?) Why do you think Phil Knight got really defensive about all that? It turns out it was because they already had a big program underway. Jane Savage is one of those people who was busy building sustainability into the products. They’ve started a program that’s not Nike-branded, and not even specifically “sustainable”–it’s Considered Design, with a URL launching later this year. It’s a design philosophy that combines sustainability and innovation, across their holdings.
Nike’s corporate headquarters is a model of sustainability, with record numbers of people biking or using public transit to get to work. A building on that same Beaverton campus was the first existing building to be rated LEED Gold (it was designed by William McDonough). They used to be the largest purchaser of organic cotton, until Wal-Mart converted. They publish all the names of every vendor they work with. They also share their technologies with others in the footwear industry.