Nelson Farris, a Nike employee for more than 35 years, interviews Nike's CFO, Don Blair to find out how important sustainability is to Nike Inc's bottom line.
Innovation is at the heart of NIKE, Inc.'s business growth strategy. Our relentless focus to be better helps us create the world's most innovative products for consumers across the globe. This same philosophy and determination is driving change in how we approach corporate responsibility in today's marketplace.
Years ago, when we started working to improve the labor, environmental and social impacts of our business model, we were largely driven by a need to manage risk. Today, our corporate responsibility approach has evolved from focusing on risk management, philanthropy and compliance to one that utilizes our natural focus on innovation to transition NIKE, Inc. into a business that is more sustainable, by which we mean that it brings people, planet and profits into balance for lasting success.
To be the leading athletic brand in the world - today and into the future - we have to deliver innovative new products and experiences in a more sustainable way. For NIKE, Inc., this is not about trading one business challenge for another. It's about recognizing that sustainability is a route to future profitability. As we look ahead, we know that consumers across the world are creating new markets and demanding new services that require us to focus on getting close to market, to create new, digital solutions and to customize products for consumers more quickly than ever before.
To fulfill these demands, we must succeed in a world where natural and human resources are constrained. In the future, issues ranging from peaking oil prices, climate change mitigation and population growth to the decreasing availability of natural resources could impact our consumers and our business. As the world moves to a low-carbon economy, we see potential impact to labor forces, working conditions, communities, development, youth, sport, supply chains, products and more.
We believe that the businesses that consider these challenges early, even anticipating them as part of their day-to-day operations, will be best positioned to turn them into opportunity.
As with every consumer brand, NIKE, Inc. designs and sells products. Making these products currently relies on the availability of natural resources - from raw materials through to water and energy. The cost of competition for resources will increase as these resources become increasingly scarce. Coupled with emerging trends - such as customization, a push to be closer to multiple markets, and shifting labor markets - we see a new opportunity to create business growth for the future.
Nike and our consumers also live and breathe the world of sport. That world is under threat from the impacts of climate change and the current decline in sport participation, particularly in the U.S. where sports programs are being reduced or eliminated altogether. Nike believes in the universal power of sport to create positive social change, to build teamwork, leadership, self-confidence and fitness, and to break down barriers such as discrimination and racism. Nike understands we have the power to use our voice and our brand to fight for universal youth access to sport and to advocate for global action on climate change to protect playing fields around the world.
We have a choice. We can move fast, now, to prepare to thrive and seize the opportunities of a future sustainable economy. Or we can wait. Waiting means we risk facing a forced requirement to shift on someone else's timeline. For us, the choice is clear. We are always on the offense. That's why we are refocusing our efforts, increasing our investments in innovation, using our voice for stronger advocacy and looking at how we incubate new, scalable business models that enable us to thrive in a sustainable economy.