Nike Case Study

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Corporate Sustainability is Attainable: NIKE Case Study
SUS 500 A1 - Principles of Sustainability
October 17, 2010

Abstract
Nike, Inc. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and brands of athletic apparel, shoes, and equipment. The company has undergone a revolution in the past decade. They have gone from a risk management, philanthropic and compliance model to a long-term strategy focused on innovation, collaboration, transparency, and advocacy. This paper discusses the goals of Nike’s sustainability program, the paradigm shift, and the business case for sustainability. The six levels of paradigm shift are discussed as well as the motivations behind implementing a sustainable program, the risks, and rewards.

Corporate Sustainability is Attainable: NIKE Case Study
Nike, Inc. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and brands of athletic apparel, shoes, and equipment. The company has undergone a revolution in the past decade. They have gone from a risk management, philanthropic and compliance model to a long-term strategy focused on innovation, collaboration, transparency, and advocacy. They seek to thrive and lead in a sustainable economy. This paper will explore the goals of Nike’s sustainability program, the paradigm shift experienced by this company, and what business case can be construed from their efforts. The purpose is to understand the process of implementing a sustainable program, the risks, and rewards. Goals of Sustainability Program

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, Inc., stated that “corporate responsibility must evolve from being seen as an unwanted cost to being recognized as an intrinsic part of a healthy business model, an investment that creates competitive advantage and helps a company achieve profitable, sustainable growth” (McKrael, 2009). Nike’s vision started to become a reality with the creation in 1993 of the Nike Environmental Action Team (NEAT). The purpose of this team was to serve as the controller of the environmental staff and functions of the company. Their main course of action was to find answers to the environmental problems created by Nike’s production. In addition, NEAT was charged with integrating solutions into the company’s business practices (McKrael, 2009). One of the initial goals was to make sustainability a strategic opportunity, central to the company’s business, and a key player in all major organizational decisions.

Nike’s sustainability program consisted of two phases. During phase one Nike undertook a series of initiatives addressing the environmental life cycle of its products, integrating all aspects of their manufacturing including design, marketing, and the product life cycle. During phase two, new goals were formulated taking into consideration the improvements made by phase one. Phase two goals aimed to integrate Nike as a whole – all aspects of their business along with innovation in design and manufacturing. Some of these goals included closing the loop – reducing costs and improving margins while reducing environmental footprint, use of sustainable materials in production and consumption, climate stability, water stewardship, supporting and creating thriving communities, and using athletes as change agents. As a result, Nike has an extensive line of athletic shoes made with reused materials, many of their spokespersons or athletes are involved in the design and sponsorship process of environmental-friendly products, and they have addressed issues involving the use of chemicals and water stewardship. All in all, Nike’s sustainability goals serve as the “guiding light that makes them stay on track” (McKrael, 2009). Paradigm Shifts

At its core, a paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. In many cases the shift involves a revolution, a transformation, or a metamorphosis driven by agents of change. Paradigm shifts occur from time to time in business as well as in science. Shifts are often hard fought and the ideas underlying...
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