Noel Kinder Chief Sustainability Officer, Nike
THE SPACE HIPPIE
Noel Kinder, Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer, reflects on the company’s approach to sustainability and its lowest-carbon shoe.
How has Nike’s approach to sustainability evolved over time?
At Nike, we have been incorporating sustainability into the way we work for decades. Through programs like Reuse-A-Shoe and Nike Grind we have transformed used sneakers and scrap materials into new products, playgrounds, running tracks, courts and more.
Part of how we have evolved and continue to do so is by looking to the future and grounding ourselves in innovation. We’re setting bold goals – not just in our operations, but also in how we create high-performance products for people while still reducing our environmental footprint. For example, since 2010, we have diverted more than 7.5 billion plastic bottles from landfills and waterways by using recycled polyester — and more than one billion plastic bottles in the 2019 financial year alone. That recycled polyester is used to make products ranging from the new Liverpool FC jerseys to everyday items like sports bras and training tanks.
How does Nike approach climate action?
The core to our approach is the belief that we can’t just wait for solutions – we have to create them. That guides Move to Zero, Nike’s journey toward zero carbon and zero waste to help protect the planet and create a better future for sport.
We’re always looking for ways to minimise our impact on the planet and reduce our environmental footprint. That’s why we set industry-leading science-based targets to reduce our carbon emissions. We are also working to reduce waste across all our key operations and global headquarters.
We also know we can’t do this alone. A problem as large and complex as climate change requires relentless collaboration across our industry, including our peers and competitors.
That’s why we’ve taken actions like signing on to the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action – a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our industry as a whole. Another example is that, as founding members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we are standardising how we measure the environmental impact of our material and products along with 250+ organisations. You can learn more about our approach to collaboration on purpose.nike.com.
The Space Hippie is Nike’s lowest-carbon footprint shoe. Tell us more about how it came to life.
At Nike, we know that it’s not enough to think about just form and function. We have to be thinking about form, function and footprint. That knowledge guides our approach to design – and, we think it makes us even more creative. This mindset fueled the creation of Space Hippie, an exploratory footwear collection that transforms scrap material from factory floors into a radical design inspired by circularity.
Every detail of the Nike Space Hippie footwear capsule collection – from material choices, to methods of make, to packaging – was chosen with consideration for its environmental impact, adding up to our lowest carbon footprint shoe. To get into the details, Space Hippie Flyknit yarns include at least 85% recycled polyester – made from recycled plastic bottles, t-shirt and yarn scraps – creating engineered knit uppers with an expressive sustainable aesthetic.
Each of Space Hippie’s four silhouettes provide a unique fit option — traditional laces, lace-less and Flyease — for all lifestyles. Its sole is created with Crater Foam, featuring tooling that uses 15% Nike Grind rubber and is combined with 100% recycled ZoomX foam scraps for a more sustainable, lightweight and responsive feel.
What’s on the horizon for Nike in sustainability?
For me, I am driven by the belief that the faster we do more for the environment, the better it will be for generations to come. For Nike, I’m focused on our ambitious goal of significantly reducing our carbon footprint by 2030.
This goal has been approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative, a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and WWF.
Ultimately, we’re optimistic about the future, but know we have to take climate action with urgency to create the future we want for everyone.
The Space Hippie is an exploratory footwear collection inspired by life on Mars—where materials are scarce and there is no resupply mission.