The sports apparel powerhouse Nike, Inc. has recently released big changes in the news by announcing a partnership with Swiss company Bluesign Technologies. The partnership will accelerate the supply of sustainable materials and chemistries for use in all Nike products. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means Nike is going green – they are taking steps to make the production of their textiles more sustainable for their workers, customers, and environment.
Though I bet not many of you have heard of Bluesign Technologies, their company is quite interesting. They have also partnered with The North Face on a journey to sustainability. The link provided here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkOQVQdJ_Lo) is a short video which details great information regarding Bluesign; how they work, the benefit of using their technologies, and how it can better the environment. Basically, Bluesign is an input management system. They know everything that they put into their production and calculate the effect of a chemical used in a textile regarding their air emissions, water emissions, and how it affects the workplace so that they know the outcome a chemical has before even starting production.
Nike is utilizing two of Bluesign Technologies that will provide Nike’s supply chain with access to roll out the tools across Nike’s global supply chain. With one of the technologies, Bluefinder, a supplier can access pre-screened sustainable textile preparations including dye systems, detergents, and other chemicals used in the manufacturing process. The benefit of this tool is that it helps suppliers manage restricted substances and increase water/energy efficiency. The second tool Nike will utilize is Blueguide which gives Nike access to 30,000+ materials produced using chemicals from the Bluefinder at facilities that have undergone rigorous assessment.
Nike is pursuing to enhance their sustainable material strategy. They are looking to put a set of positive chemistries in the hands of material suppliers by preventing the use of hazardous chemicals. With Nike using these technologies, they can change production with many manufacturers by having them use technologies in order to produce more sustainable products and increase efficiencies.
I think this is a great partnership for many reasons. First, as we discussed in class, sustainability is win-win and has a multifold positive impact. Furthermore, without these technologies Nike’s supply chain had to go through individual factory assessments. Now, their supply chain will run more efficiently with more innovative products. With the integration of Bluesign Technologies, materials will be made in a manner which is sustainable between products, the environment, and the manufacturing factory. The sustainability advantage is not only effective in Nike’s products, but in improving their supply chain by making production more innovative, stable, and of higher quality. This aspect of their operations management is greatly going to improve Nike to being not only a sports powerhouse, but a sustainable one as well.
How beneficial do you think the use of Bluesign Technologies will be to Nike?
Do you look more favorably on a company that takes efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and provide more sustainable products- why/not?