Lets face it. Nike is the penultimate scapegoat of the human rights, American labor, and environmental activist groups in the United States and abroad. Previous allegations include sweatshop working conditions, toxic and carcinogenic content of their shoes and manufacturing waste, and disregard for the disposal of the millions of short-lifetime shoes it produces every year. But there's always a chance for somebody to turn their sketchy ways around and surprise you. For Nike, maybe that chance is now.Nike's new Considered line of shoes is the first one that has included such a blatantly sustainable slant in its pitch. Previous strategies, like their push to reduce PVC use in products, and their Reuse-a-Shoe program to recycle shoe soles into sport surfaces didn't ever have the kind of force or commitment behind them to satisfy the environmentalist community.
But Considered is different. Not only does the new line include standard enviro-conscious goals like incorporating recycled rubber, and reducing manufacturing wastage, but from the outset, Nike sets itself up with some very ambitious additional goals. These shoes will be designed without adhesives of any kind, to reduce the toxic effects on workers in factories, and the environment. These shoes will be designed for total component disassembly, for easy recycling. They will source materials within 200 miles of factories in order to reduce fuel consumption. They will even use vegetable-tanned leather, to eliminate toxic chromium in the waste pipeline. And wherever possible, strategies like woven lace uppers are used to minimize the need to cut patterns.
In the end, we'll have to see whether this latest attempt by Nike is for real. But it's sure good to see them trying. :: Nike Considered Sustainable Footwear [by DM]