Topic: Nike Company Sustainable business efforts (Operations Management module)
The Assignment Task
Since the launch of its Reuse-A-Shoe program, Nike has recycled more than 21 million pairs of athletic shoes to create public basketball courts, athletic tracks and playground surfaces around the world. Nike’s latest initiative, Considered Design, seeks to design products that use environmentally preferred materials, eliminate toxins, and are fully closed loop (i.e. produced using the fewest possible materials, designed for easy disassembly, and completely recyclable at the end of their useful life or safely returned to nature). One hundred percent compliance to this goal is expected by 2011, apparel by 2015 and equipment by 2020. Nike’s entry into sustainable practices took an interesting turn when it offered its first line of environmentally friendly shoes. At the centre of the line was a walking boot made with brown hemp fibres dubbed “Air Hobbit” by detractors. From that foray, Nike determined that its customers weren’t that interested in being eco-friendly, that they were much more interested with performance than sustainability. Enter the trash-talking shoe. Steve Nash, the all-star guard for the Phoenix Suns, forged a partnership with Nike to create a “Nike Trash Talk” version of his favourite basketball shoe. The high-performance shoe is made completely from manufacturing waste-scraps of leather material and foam that would otherwise be discarded, and Nike Grind rubber that is recycled from old athletic shoes. Although revealed with fanfare at a Suns game, Nike does not, as a rule, market its sustainability efforts. Nike ads do not portray a “feel-good, do good attitude; instead its all about winning. So, Nike prefers to “do more and say less” about its green business practices. In another effort to go green, the latest design of the Air Jordan eliminates excess plastic, uses recycled material, and is sewn on a newly designed machine that saves electricity and reduces its carbon shoeprint.
Produce a report which covers the following:
Provide a brief overview of sustainability in operations with a focus on the re-use and recycling of end-of-life materials in manufacturing organisations. (20% marks)
Highlight the main differences between Nike’s Considered Design and a traditional linear supply chain model discussing the changes to their operations that need to be made to make the sustainability effort a success. ( 30% marks)
Discuss the sustainability effort in Nike and comment on customer attitudes towards sustainable practices. Evaluate the role of the “ethical consumer” in influencing operational sustainable practices (20% marks)
Evaluate Nike’s progress in achieving the goals they set for 2011, 2015 and 2020. You will need to conduct some research into Nike’s current sustainability efforts to gather information on current practices, including facts and figures that enable you to conclude whether Considered Design has met past milestones and its prospects of achieving the 2020 target. How do Nike compare to their competitors? (30 marks)