3 ways the sports industry is helping the planet

3 ways the sports industry is helping the planet

A major goal for all sports companies is to give back to their dedicated audiences. Many businesses such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma place placing charitable enterprise at the forefront of their operations and marketing. With climate change dominating the current news cycle, ‘going green’ is an increasingly effective and powerful way to secure their corner of the market and combat the growing and existential threat of pollution adversely affecting people’s lives.

So, here are three ways that sports companies are committing to saving the planet:

1. Being energy conscious

Managing and regulating energy expenditure is a key priority for many businesses operating within the sports industry.

Adidas is a founding member of the sustainable apparel coalition, a collective that uses the Higg Index to optimise its impact on the environment and the social influence it has on the lives of its workers. This allows companies to pool their resources and knowledge to drive efficiency, with Michael Kobori of Levi Strauss asserting that the coalition “brings brands and vendors together in an equal partnership to drive impact reduction…[helping to] drive impact reductions in our material issues of water, chemistry, and carbon.”

2. Eliminating waste

When it comes to reducing waste expenditure, there are few companies raising the bar higher than Nike.

The company has been a leader in using innovation to not only reduce its waste output but to put the remainder to good use. This has seen the development of Nike Grind, which uses recycled products to provide track and training surfaces. These replace the synthetic materials like polyurethane, acrylic, or rubber surfaces that can be near impossible to dispose of or recycle safely. This involves recycling Nike products that don’t contain metal and is available in the US and Canada, UK, Japan, Australia, and more.

In order to facilitate this, Nike has spent the last seven years test-driving and deploying its ‘closed loop’ production cycle that minimises waste and reuses materials. Referring to the process as a ‘marathon, not a sprint’, the company has spent the last seven years refining the process - clearly committing to a sustainable approach for the future.

The period has also seen Puma actively address their environmental footprint by looking at cows and cotton – namely through their approach to land use and raw-materials production. This led to a fresh approach to reviewing their target ‘hotspots’ and bringing their CO2 emissions down dramatically and sourcing their cotton through the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ to reduce their water waste and dramatically improve efficiency.

3. Setting achievable goals

Of course, a commitment to giving back is impossible without a concrete plan at its centre.
Market leaders like Puma have publicly announced ambitious sustainability targets for 2020 and already are well on the way to achieving them. This has seen them launch a “10 for 20” initiative that defines key areas for improvement in their materials production, governance, chemical use, and many others. The company has also taken concrete steps to enact these, spelling out trackable commitments to community engagement, increasing wastewater compliance, and deploy additional sustainable materials to their products.

Adidas has also followed suit by detailing explicit sustainable strategy goals that include saving 35% on water expenditure on their sites, embrace 20% in energy savings with their suppliers, and enacting a multi-step plan to empower their supply chain.

Nike has also embraced a similar commitment to supplier and consumer outreach, through their Young Foundation that aims to get individuals both young and old engaged with exercise and the environment. The company has committed to helping through proactive outreach and with only 51% of children hitting the daily exercise targets, have made multiple offers available to cut the price of their items and ‘making giving a team sport’ through a comprehensive range of funds, grants and awards to encourage excellence.