Nike has released its Environmental Apparel Design Tool in an effort to further industry sustainability efforts. The company believes that making this green IT tool open source will accelerate collaboration between companies, fast-track sustainable innovation and decrease the use of natural resources like oil and water.
The tool rates how apparel designs score in reducing waste and increasing the use of environmentally preferred materials. The software, which helps designers make real-time choices, has been designed and built by Nike over the last seven years at a cost of $6m.
The Nike football jerseys produced for South Africa 2010 are cited as examples of the tool success in producing the most environmentally-friendly and technologically-advanced kits in football's history. Made from 100% recycled polyester, the material choice apparently diverted 13 million plastic bottles from landfill.
Hannah Jones, Vice President of Nike Sustainable Business and Innovation, said that; “By releasing the tool we want others to improve on it and we hope to inspire further collaboration to create global industry standards for a level playing field, encourage widespread industry adoption of sustainable design practices and have more sustainable products available for the consumer.”
Nike will also be releasing its Footwear Design Tool, Material Assessment Tool and Water Assessment Tool in 2011. It’s all a follow up to the company’s announcement earlier this year of GreenXchange, a web-based marketplace for collaboration and sharing intellectual property around sustainability business models.
It all sounds highly commendable. No company is going to have all the answers (or even know what all the questions are), so sharing knowledge and collaborating around solutions is the most effective way forward. It’s the sort of mindset that will be essential if we are going to effectively combat climate change and other sustainability issues.
If only our leaders in Cancun would act in the same open and collaborative way.