Product design - Nike to Share Environmental Scoring Tool

  • Date: December 09, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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Nike has announced the release of a public version of its Environmental Apparel Design Tool. The tool was built over seven years at a cost of USD 6 million. The eco-friendly design tool gives each design an overall score allowing designers to make informed decisions and effect design changes in the earliest stages of production thereby minimizing wastage.

The tool was instrumental in the creation of jerseys for Nike’s patron countries in the 2010 World Cup. In Nike's internal version of the tool, there are baseline scores built in for designers to work around. It also suggests better choices of material for immediate alteration or future reference. Recycled polyester has been identified as one of the best choices by this tool, given its lower life cycle carbon dioxide emissions, nil toxins, landfill waste reduction and other advantages. Based on this identification, Nike used 13 million recycled plastic bottles to make jerseys for the 2010 World Cup and has doubled its overall use of recycled polyester in the last year, using 82 million plastic bottles. However, according to Nike, recycled polyester cannot cater to the demand of the entire apparel industry.  If all the apparel companies switched just a third of their polyester products to recycled polyester, a demand-supply mismatch in terms of plastic bottles will arise. 

Now that the efficiency of the tool, developed under its Considered program has been established, Nike is releasing it for public use. The Considered program is the company's effort to turn out products by using more of eco-friendly materials, less of toxins and reducing waste generation during their manufacture. The Environmental Apparel Design Tool is fairly simple to operate. Designers plug in the materials they use, the recycled or organic content they possess, any treatments being carried out, the amount of waste that will be left over from cutting the design out and some other information.  The tool rates the design and awards one of the following scores: "needs improvement," "good," "better," or "best”.  Next year Nike will release public versions of other environmental tools - like the Footwear Design tool, the Material Assessment Tool and the Water Assessment Tool.

Green guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates environmental marketing claims. It has laid down the following guidelines:

The Commission traditionally has held that in order to be effective, any qualifications or disclosures such as those described in these guides should be sufficiently clear, prominent and understandable to prevent deception. 

Claims should be presented in a way that makes clear whether the environmental attribute or benefit being asserted refers to the product, its packaging or a service, among other things. 

Marketing claims should not be presented in a manner that overstates the environmental attribute or benefit. 

Environmental marketing claims that include a comparative statement should be presented in a manner that makes the basis for the comparison sufficiently clear to avoid consumer deception. The advertiser should be able to substantiate the comparison.


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