Product Design: Considered Design Index

Petroleum-Derived Solvents

(Formerly Volatile Organic Compounds)

Petroleum-Derived Solvents: Footwear Target


In one place in Nike's FY05/06 report, the incorrect baseline was used. The 340 grams per pair baseline from 1995 is correct.

Petroleum-Derived Solvents in Footwear



The use of Petroleum-Derived Solvents (PDS) in manufacturing can expose workers to potentially harmful chemicals and often requires them to use expensive and uncomfortable personal protective equipment. If released to the environment, these solvents also have undesirable environmental impacts.

PDS are a processing aide used to manufacture products, not the products themselves. To better understand our potential for reducing solvents in footwear manufacturing, we undertook a study in 2008 to determine where in the assembly process solvents are most used, with the aim of designing processes to eliminate solvents at the source.

We found the most solvents were used in primer and cleaning processes.

Total PDS Consumers by Process/Material


That insight has helped us to direct our efforts toward innovations that will deliver the greatest reductions for time invested.

For example, the carbon fiber shank in our iconic Jordan XX3 shoe would normally require assembly with priming and solvent-based cements. We encouraged the shank vendor to innovate to reduce solvent use. They developed a dry adhesive film system that allowed water-based assembly. We have applied this solvent-reducing process in the assembly of some cleated and other basketball footwear products as well, and will continue to work with other suppliers to develop new processes and approaches.

In addition to our efforts in footwear, we are working with equipment manufacturers to assess areas for reducing PDS in other product.