Nike, a manual for sustainable design

The future of fashion is green, for the US brand, which is investing in the circular economy. This includes a bike-sharing service, for the moment available in Portland only.

Ecological conscience is spreading to mass production, and Nike is ready to ride the wave. It started with bike sharing and now it has published a manual of sustainable design.

Let’s start with the newest of the two, the manual. Entitled Circularity: guiding the future of design, it has been created in collaboration with the students of the Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London and is inspired by the Global Fashion Agenda. The aim is to offer guidelines for the creation of a circular economy in the fashion sector, in other words ensuring that designers from all over the world have common models for the creation of recyclable, long-lasting products that are attentive of environmental impact.

“It is our duty to consider design as a whole, examining how we conceive it, how we produce, use and present it, and how, in the final analysis, we re-imagine it”, claimed John Hoke, the Chief Design Officer for the brand. The manual is based on ten principles, from the choice of materials to recyclable packaging, and including easy dismantling and cyclability, and what is great is that it can be consulted online, thus also acting as a guide for young designers.

The company itself has put it into practise. As underlined in a report issued by the company, 75 percent of shoes and items of clothing now contain recycled materials, but the idea of sustainability is based above all on the Air technology. The dyes used can be 99 percent recycled, materials 50 percent, and 95 percent of by-products do not end up polluting the soil. Production aside, the Beaverton headquarters in Oregon are 100% powered by renewable energy sources, and the aim is now to render all of the branches sustainable by 2025.

Then we have intelligent mobility. Since 2016, the US company is the sole financier and main sponsor of Biketown, a bike sharing service running in Portland, Oregon. Just like its competitors, it allows for the hiring of bikes via an app. The app allows users to find the closest bike, unlock it and pay. There are three pricing plans: one is a pay-as-you-use format and allows hiring at 0.08 dollars a minute plus a 5-dollar one-off payment, while the other two are subscriptions and cost 19 dollars a month or 99 dollars a year.

One thing to note is that this is not a free-floating service like Mobike or Ofo, which allow users to leave the bike where they want. Here, the system revolves around an electronic lock. This is unlocked by the app, and then once the destination has been reached, it can be used again to leave the bike in one of the stands around the city at an extra charge, or free of charge in the Biketown stations.

The initial offer was fairly aggressive. Nike invested 10 million dollars over the first five years, offering a thousand bikes and 190 stands. Furthermore, in full advertising style, the livery on the bikes and the stations is changed during special events or advertising campaigns, a combination of profit and ecology. It should be said that the city was not chosen at random. Nike has its headquarters in Beaverton, in the vicinity of Portland.

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