Building Supplier Capabilities in Environmental Management

Nike engages and supports suppliers through Environment Minimum Programs to build performance and risk management capabilities
Environment Minimum Programs

To be sustainable, we need to grow our business while reducing our environmental impact across our value chain. The Nike Environment Minimum Programs are designed to help our suppliers understand their impact areas (waste, energy and water) and develop and implement important sustainability practices like tracking their performance. The programs rely on commitment from factory management, including having the right people managing environmental programs, providing training to employees and setting goals.


Once the foundations are in place, we share data collection, tracking and reporting tools and processes with suppliers. We also provide training to the factory to help them understand their environmental risks and develop plans to address those risks.


We believe that when factories fully implement our Environment Minimum Programs, they will be able to drive efficiencies, protect their business and minimize the environmental impact of their operations.


When factories manage energy efficiently, they can benefit from a reduction of production costs, improvement in overall manufacturing efficiency and the creation of a safe and comfortable environment for workers.


Our global energy and carbon team works with factories to help them become more energy efficient. We do this by showing factory managers how to achieve energy savings through the Energy Minimum Program.

The Energy Minimum Program focuses on:
  • Data-driven decision making and performance management with energy and carbon baselines and ongoing data analysis
  • Organizational structure assessments to enable energy-focused teams to drive energy efficiency initiatives
  • Best practice sharing for machine maintenance to reduce energy used in steam and compressed air systems


Any organization, regardless of size, function or mission can develop an effective energy program with the right commitment. Proper maintenance increases the productivity, reliability and longevity of the equipment, and reducing energy use protects the factory from changing energy prices.


Washington State University is a key partner for Nike’s manufacturing global energy and carbon team. They have designed a suite of industrial energy efficiency tools used by the U.S. Department of Energy that are particularly applicable for our industry. We are building capabilities, energy toolsets and best practice guidelines with the University’s energy services group which can help our supply chain become more energy efficient.


It is estimated that the fashion’s industry waste will increase by 60 percent between 2015 and 2030 under current trends of production and industry growth.[1] Wasted material results in significant costs and environmental impact, so it’s critical that we use materials efficiently, manage waste properly and recycle and reuse our materials.


[1] Global Fashion Agenda and Boston Consulting Group (2017) Pulse of the Fashion Industry.

Footwear factories are implementing the Nike Waste Minimum Program

The Waste Minimum Program sets expectations for management commitment, creates a hierarchy of waste where disposal is a last resort, details separation and handling waste for recycling and enables data collection and reporting for accountability. It outlines the elements necessary for factories to establish a strong foundation for waste management. By implementing the elements of the Waste Minimum Program, factories will:

  • Establish a foundation for waste-related continuous improvement
  • Enable accurate and consistent reporting of KPIs and metrics
  • Improve productivity, quality and efficiency
  • Reduce costs associated with waste disposal and increase revenue from the sale of valuable waste resources
  • Reduce risks associated with improper management of waste


In 2016, the World Economic Forum listed the water crisis as a top three global risk. Experiences from around the world—water rationing in Taiwan, unprecedented droughts in Brazil and California, increased water stress in China—demonstrate very real examples of the concerns presented by the World Economic Forum.

By implementing the Water Minimum Program, factories and suppliers will learn how to:
  • Mitigate water risk to their business continuity by providing supplier employees with access to clean, potable water and avoiding public affairs issues with community and government
  • Ensure wastewater compliance by demonstrating their commitment to protecting the environment where it operates and strengthening the relationship with local communities
  • Be good stewards of freshwater by confirming their commitment towards protecting water as a constrained resource while decreasing the dependency on this resource


The ZDHC Guidelines

In addition to the Nike Minimum Water Program, we are working with suppliers to raise awareness about the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Wastewater Guidelines, which encourage continuous improvement on wastewater discharge quality as well as screening for intentional use of restricted chemistries.


Nike has been assisting supplier facilities that are not compliant to the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines by facilitating collaboration between suppliers who are doing very well in treating their wastewater and those that are facing challenges. In addition, Nike has provided training on wastewater and wastewater system process optimization and on-call technical assistance for suppliers who need a little extra guidance. Ultimately, our goal is to engage and empower the people who work in our contract factories with the knowledge, skills and resources to be effective operators of in-house water treatment systems for more sustainable wastewater management.