Nike is taking greater steps towards going green.
The athletic giant has announced a partnership with Newlight Technologies to explore alternatives to its sneaker materials — specifically Newlight’s AirCarbon product, a carbon-negative bioplastic that’s an alternative to textiles like plastic and leather.
The sportswear brand recently earned a C-minus from environmental campaigners for its sustainability and climate goals. Nike has since vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 65% in owned-or-operated spaces, as well as a 30% reduction across its supply chain by 2030. A large component for reaching those goals is to prioritize using carbon-negative materials in various products, such as AirCarbon.
“Materials account for 70 percent of Nike’s total carbon footprint, and we’re accelerating our efforts and exploring new opportunities in this space because, in the race against climate change, we can’t wait for solutions, we have to work together to create them,” said Noel Kinder, Nike’s chief sustainability officer, in a statement.
AirCarbon’s sports-specific advantage is that it’s not only sustainable, but also lightweight. The material is composed of polymers converted from digested greenhouse gases, crafted from both oxygen and greenhouse gas’ carbon. Newlight’s use of the material has already been implemented in the fashion world, used in products like Covalent sunglasses and leather replacements. As Nike begins implementing its eco-friendly materials into more designs, it seems hopeful that — given the brand’s influence and power in the athletic world — more will follow suit.