Nike adopts 'just do it' approach to clean supply chain
Sportswear giant NIKE last week raised the sustainability stakes for similar global brands by announcing an action plan to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020.
The move followed on the heels of a Greenpeace campaign in July which accused the sports brand of having links to a Chinese manufacturer leaking toxic chemicals into water supplies.
"In support of the principles of prevention and precaution, and in line with our overall commitment to water stewardship, NIKE, Inc. supports the goal of systemic change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals associated with supply chains and the lifecycles of products within one generation or less," the company said on its website.
"To make this a reality, NIKE, Inc. will continue phasing out hazardous chemicals in our supply chain and we will accelerate the phase out of the highest priority hazardous chemicals. NIKE, Inc. will continue to work with brands, material suppliers, the broader chemical industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal. We will drive towards innovative solutions for transparency in chemical management disclosure," the company said..
Greenpeace, which urging urged leading clothing brands to "detox" their supply chains after finding that Chinese factories linked to Nike, Adidas and Puma were discharging hazardous and persistent chemicals that contain hormone-disrupting properties, welcomed the move by Nike and urged Adidas to follow suit.
NIKE says it will announce an action plan to achieve its lofty goals within eight weeks, including how it will address the need for industry disclosure in line with right to know principles and a time-line for the elimination of the highest priority hazardous chemicals.
"Due to the highly complex and shared nature of supply chains, we invite others in our industry to co-create a broader action plan for the industry, as collaboration is critical to drive progress We will work tirelessly to affect system change across the industry towards this goal," the company's statement said.
Nike announce what it calls the adoption of a "Precautionary Principle" which is defined as meaning that when (on the basis of available evidence) an activity may harm human health or the environment, a cautious approach should be taken in advance - even if the full extent of harm has not yet been fully established scientifically.
"It recognizes that such proof of harm may never be possible, at least until it is too late to avoid or reverse the damage done. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist," the company said.