Nike unveils new lightweighting target for shoeboxes

Sportswear giant Nike has announced that it aims to reduce the weight of its shoeboxes by 10% by 2015 but has admitted that it will be difficult target to reach.

Nike revealed the news in its latest sustainability report for 2012/13. The firm said that its boxes needed to be “lightweight and waste-efficient” but they still needed to “retain their integrity and structure from the factory to the consumer”.

The sportswear manufacturer also stated that its aim was to “use less” and “buy less to reduce impact across the value chain”.

In its 2013 financial year, it had reduced its shoebox weight by 3% against its financial year 2011 baseline. Nike revealed that its new target to reduce its shoebox weight per unit by 10% would be “difficult to meet”.

In a statement in its report, it said: “Starting in 1995, our shoebox has been made of 100% recycled content. Since that time, we have worked to reduce the weight of the box, developing different alternatives with varying degrees of success.

“We are in Phase Three of a rollout and will be at full implementation of the new box design by the end of FY15. That’s good progress but not enough to meet our 10% reduction by FY15. We are exploring additional options, including changes to the master carton – so that the smaller and lighter shoeboxes can be shipped in a leaner outer box. Additionally, we have other shoebox initiatives in various states of implementation that will reduce overall shoebox weight.”

Elsewhere, the company stated that it had diverted 44% of retail-store waste away from landfill, 69% of waste from its Nike World Headquarters away from landfill and 92% of waste from its distribution centres was diverted away from landfill.

Nike also revealed that it has used two billion plastic bottles in its products since 2010.

In its 2013 financial year, Nike garments used 43% recycled polyester than in 2012 with 19% of polyester products now using recycled plastic bottle content. This represents 20 million kg of recycled polyester fabric.

The company also highlighted that it is on target to meet its aim of reducing waste in its finished goods by 10% by 2015 with 8.6% achieved between 2011 and 2013.

Nike also said it was aiming to “make every attempt to drive waste as high up the value chain as possible – ideally back into our own product through closed-loop innovation”.

In a statement in its report, it added that examples of closing the loop include “material vendor take-back programmes and grinding rubber outsoles back into new outsoles, including testing and exploring new ways to increase the level of scrap content that can be mixed back into new outsole rubber”.

Nike president and chief executive Mark Parker said: “Nike’s success as a growth company is tied to our culture of innovation. Today we believe that sustainable innovation that benefits the athlete, the company and the planet will play a key role in the future of our business.

“We are constantly integrating more sustainable ways of working across our business – from design to production, to logistics and retail. While this work propels us forward we also recognise that Nike is positioned to leverage the power of our brand to drive positive change across our entire value chain, within our industry and beyond.”

Liz Gyekye

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie