We believe that the looming crises of climate change, water scarcity and quality, and other resource constraints are even greater long-term challenges than today's financial turmoil. Natural resources and ecosystem services have been undervalued, and the environmental impacts of business have been regarded as externalities. All this is changing and rightly coming into view as a priority for inclusion in business planning.

Innovation as a Driver

In a resource-constrained world, we must use innovation as a driver to conserve water, increase our energy efficiency, reuse and recycle our products. We hear about the promise and potential of a sustainable economy; one that balances people, planet and profit. That vision requires a shift in thinking and approach.

Our North Star

To guide us for the long term, we developed our North Star to define what sustainable products and a sustainable company would look like. We developed our North Star in consultation with The Natural Step, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research in sustainable development.

Our North Star is grounded in addressing sustainability at the very core of our business, beginning with design. But it extends across everything we do. Our commitment is to create extraordinary performance products for athletes while managing our business within nature's limits.

Nike's North Star


This vision helps us focus our effort and resources where we can make the most impact. For instance, through innovative design, we can design out waste, chemicals and energy, and design in new materials and new approaches. We call this concept Considered Design. Nike Considered started as a product initiative that challenged designers to "Consider your impact. Consider your choices. Consider design, consider innovation, consider solutions." When we integrate this elevated consciousness into the design process, we maximize the value of our products and minimize the impact of their production. We reduce waste and CO2 emissions across the whole supply chain.

We anticipate a future that seeks out and rewards new models of consumption and growth, separated from material consumption. It's a transition from build, buy and bury - the common model of business to date.

We do not believe we have to make an "either/or" choice between addressing business needs today and attending to the impacts of the future. We must do both. Environmental issues and considerations are the pressing business issues for both tomorrow and today. Taking environmental issues into account is critical for future financial success and for the long-term sustainability of the business. Doing this in a manner which does not compromise the performance of today's products and today's business results is our challenge, but it is a challenge we are confident we can continue to overcome.

Our Approach Has Deep Roots

Understanding and incorporating the need to reduce waste is not new to Nike. It was a founding principle driven by company co-founder and University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman. Bowerman understood improving runners' performance required eliminating excess. He envisioned runners' shoes that contained only those items necessary to complete the race: everything else was waste.

We embrace the same "eliminate what's not critical" approach today. We recently applied that approach in redesigning our shoe box. Like Nike's first recycled-content box in 1995, the new box is made from 100-percent recycled fiber but also features a new design that reduces fiber content by approximately 30 percent and is expected to save millions in packaging costs. We expect the new box to be fully adopted across the Nike brand by 2011.