Let’s take a look at the supply chain of a typical garment and footwear brand. 1) It starts with the farmers who harvest raw materials like cotton. 2) These farmers then then sell raw materials to factories that produce yarn or cloth, which in turn sell them to factories that dye, cut, and fit the cloth to the brands specifications. 3) Brands warehouse, ship, and retail these garments [1, 2].
Now, let’s think about how the environment interfaces with each of these steps and why Nike should care. 1) At higher temperatures, growing cotton becomes unsustainable as was seen in Texas in 2011 when 55% of cotton fields were abandoned . No cotton, no cotton apparel. 2) Factories consume an immense amount of resources to produce apparel, especially water; a single mill can use 200 tonnes of water for each fabric it dyes . This in turn results in massive amounts of wastewater discharge which both makes it expensive to treat and expensive to operate. 3) We observe that >60% of apparel factories are located in East and South Asia whereas >60% of apparel consumption is situated in Europe and North America . Besides the immense warehousing and shipping costs associated with this setup, in low lying manufacturing areas, climate change-associated flooding can result in factory shut downs as was seen in four Nike factories in Thailand in 2008 .
Climate change is an issue that directly affects Nike’s commercial activities.
Consequently, Nike’s management has been taking steps to fight climate change.
To start off, they’ve set bold goals like “Zero waste from contract footwear manufacturing going to landfill or incineration without energy recovery by FY20” and “100% renewable energy in owned or operated facilities by the end of FY25” all while almost doubling sales . This immediately aligns everyone in the organization to a common vision, one that is built on innovative growth while deeply embedding sustainability.
Nike management has also undertaken several initiatives to combat climate change both in the short term and long term.
- Nike transformed 54 million pounds of factory scrap into premium materials used in their apparel and footwear in FY15 as part of its Closed Loop Ecosystem 
- Nike has enforced its contract manufacturers to cut their energy usage in half over the course of the last 8 years 
- Nike has reduced its dependence on weather-prone crops like cotton and is incorporating more recycled polyester into its apparel 
- Nike has also been using a new technology in its factories that dyes polyester without the use of water and chemicals which both saves 60% of energy and improves speed by 40% .
- Nike has been collaborating with MIT to “engage industries, designers and consumers in valuing, demanding and adopting low-impact fabrics and textiles” with support from their MAKING app which helps producers and designers to evaluate their material choices in the context of the environment 
That being done, it is crucial for Nike to start bottom up and make sure every factory they’ve contracted out to is well set up to handle both the impact of climate change on their processes in the context of their local region, and in turn incorporates sustainable practices deep in their culture. It is also important for Nike to start not just selling themselves as an environmentally friendly brand to their end users but engage their users to participate in their mission: either via volunteering or recycling programs.
My main concern for Nike is how they can be a change agent not just for themselves and the participants in their supply chain but for apparel companies and other business worldwide that have a significant carbon footprint.
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 Nike Sustainable Business Report, FY14-15