Nike is huge. That almost goes without saying. But, nonetheless, here’s some evidence to back that claim up: it is the most valuable apparel brand in the world. In its most recent quarter, it reported a $12.4 billion USD increase in revenue. It also has a huge workforce. It employs close to 80,000 people, and according to this map, its products are made by over 1 million workers worldwide in 500 factories.
It is a truly global brand, with more than 1,000 stores dotted across the planet. And in 2016, it sold 25 sneakers a second. Yes. Every. Single. Second.
For millions across the world, Nike is a source of inspiration. Its influence reaches everyone, from school kids, to your Dad who needs some new white kicks for the gym. Its sponsored athletes like Serena Williams, Kylian Mbappé and Sky Brown, are on the walls of every inspiring young sportstar.
So, there is no doubt that the decisions Nike makes have a huge, global impact. As such, it has an equally huge responsibility to both our planet, and the people that live on it.
Reading through its FY22 Impact Report, it seems like Nike is taking on that responsibility. In pretty much a clean sweep, Nike is on track to meet its 29 targets for 2025, and in some areas, those targets have already been met. It’s also demonstrating a commitment to helping women and girls thrive in not only sports but also within the company itself. And it’s continuing to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and harmful materials.
The report is split into three areas: People, Play and Planet. Let’s start with people. Nike’s size means that it employs a huge workforce. As of FY22, women now represent 51 percent of Nike’s global corporate workforce, and those women receive the same pay as their male counterparts. Outside the company walls, Nike is diversifying the people and suppliers it works with to produce its products. It spent a cumulative $777 million USD on these suppliers, which include many women-led businesses.
Last year also saw Nike diversifying the area of play. Through its partners’ programs more than 375,000 girls accessed play and sport, and 17,000 coaches were equipped with the resources to create more inclusive experiences for kids. It invested $149 million USD in communities around the world, with a focus on women, girls and Black communities.
In its efforts to reduce impact on the climate and the planet, Nike now runs its facilities on 93 percent renewable electricity thanks to onsite wind and solar, and renewable energy credits. These changes have resulted in a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gasses from FY21 to FY22 and a 64% reduction on the 2020 report’s baseline numbers.
And in the production of its footwear and apparel, Nike says it’s using 39 percent “environmentally preferred materials,” which reduce emissions by more than 182,000 metric tons, while 97 percent of its manufacturing waste is now diverted from landfill with 72 percent being recycled.
New techniques and services like Nike Forward, Recycle-A-Shoe, and B.I.L.L., demonstrate Nike’s commitment to innovation in the name of a better planet. There are also plenty of vegan and recycled options on the market too, which we continue to report on every month.
What’s in store for the future? Well, sport will always be at the heart of everything Nike does. “The way we see it, sport has always been one of society’s most powerful catalysts for change,” says John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike. “Sport moves us forward. It always has, and it always will.”
With a brand of Nike’s size, there are always going to be questions about whether its very existence is a good thing for the planet or not. But as long as it continues to produce and sell thousands of products a day, it should continue to set itself more radical and transformative targets. And meet them.
Read the Nike Impact Report in full on its website. And, if this kind of data is something you’re interested in exploring further, you can read our breakdown of the Material Innovation Initiative’s 2022 Next-Gen Materials Report.