Since 2007, Nike has reduced the emissions produced by its facilities nearly 15%. The company made a conscious decision to stop focusing on purchasing renewable energy certificates and start focusing on managing actual reductions. This has taken Nike's 2009 energy footprint back down to 2007 levels.
The company's report says that because of resource constraints, innovation is used as a driver to conserve resources and increase efficiency and recycling—so Nike's thoughts about sustainability start with design. Their concept, Considered Design, forces them to consider new materials and approaches that may help them design out unnecessary waste, chemicals, and energy.
The company had previously pledged to use more environmentally preferred materials in both footwear and apparel—it wanted to increase use in footwear by 22% by 2011, and achieved that goal in 2008. The company's goal of using 20% environmentally preferred materials in apparel by 2015 is on track, currently at 6.6% (up 57% from 2008).
"Sustainability is key to Nike's growth and innovation," Mark Parker, Nike's CEO, said in the report's press release. "Making our business more sustainable benefits our consumers who expect products and experiences with low environmental impact, contract factory workers who will gain from more sustainable manufacturing, and our employees and shareholders who will be rewarded by a company that is prepared for the future."
The design innovation can be seen in products like the "Considered" boot, one of the company's debut sustainable products back in 2005. The boot's single lace was woven between the leather and stitching to secure the upper portion to the sole, eliminating adhesives and making it an easier product to recycle.
To continue cutting back on its footprint, Nike will continue increasing its use of environmentally preferred materials, as well as streamlining manufacturing practices. Additional initiatives will help cut back on waste—the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program has helped recycle more than 23 million pairs of shoes into sport surfaces.