The last issue of Business Week had an interesting article about Nike’s eco-friendly practices, but their decision to keep their “green-ness” quiet. A few years ago, Nike made a big effort to go green with the Considered Collection. The line was not as successful as hoped, and public efforts to go green were dropped.
Nike’s efforts to be eco-conscious did not end with the Considered Collection – they just stopped making those efforts public. “We want to do more and say less says Lorrie Vogel, who is responsible for Nike’s green business practices. For example, the Air Jordan XX3 released last year was designed so all of the pieces fit together like a puzzle, thereby cutting down on the amount of plastic used to produce the shoes. Not only that, the sole is made of recycled bits of old sneakers. Nike is also introducing green manufacturing: They even invented a sewing machine that speeds up production time as a way to cut down on electricity. So why are they keeping this quiet? Isn’t green the new black?
Since the Nike Considered line didn’t do well at retail, it seems that Nike has assumed that its customers don’t care about responsible business practices. I disagree. I think the Nike Considered line didn’t do well at retail because the shoes were just plain ugly. Nike was ahead of the curve with the concept of the Considered line and I commend them for that. Where they went wrong is where many companies go wrong: There seems to be a misconception that to be “green” a product has to look very crunch, granola, hippy-esque – you know, something someone would wear and douse themselves in patchouli.
More and more, we’re seeing companies take a “green” approach without sacrificing style and design. Ultimately, when it comes to purchasing things we wear, we have to like the way they look. The Considered collection didn’t look like a Nike – so why did Nike think that Nike customers would buy them? I think that if the Considered collection were revisited with an eye toward staying true to the Nike aesthetic we’ve come to know and love, the results would be entirely different. It’s a shame that they are keeping quiet about all the good they are doing because their Considered shoes were called “Air Hobbits” at one point. I think Nike should give their customers more credit for being conscious and responsible – and stay true to the look that their customers expect and want.
Reposted from GDK Is The New Black.
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