Nike Releases Open-Source Environmental Apparel Design Tool

Sure, it may be a cliche, but if Nike wants the fashion industry to just do it, who are we to argue?

In 1998, The Natural Step began to work with Nike to help it apply the principles of sustainability to its business operations, and the company formalized its commitment to sustainable commerce with an official policy statement later that year. Hundreds of Nike employees were trained to use The Natural Step Framework between 1998 and 2001, leading to numerous innovative programs to further its sustainability goals. In 2008, Nike partnered with The Natural Step again to help assess and further develop its approach to product innovation by defining a long-term vision for sustainable products.

This past Wednesday, the sportswear behemoth released its Environmental Apparel Design Tool to the public with the goal of encouraging collaboration between manufacturers, while spurring the adoption of more sustainable processes. Based on Nike’s Considered Design Index, the software-based tool helps designers make real-time decisions that shape the environmental impact of their products. You’ve seen it in action, too. The design tool helped Nike create its South Africa 2010 jerseys—the greenest and most technologically advanced kits in the history of football, according to the company—from 100 percent recycled polyester, a decision that saved 13 million plastic bottles from the landfill.

The Natural Step also completed a review of Nike's Considered Index and Support Tools, please click here to read it.

Thank you to Ecouterre and writer Jasmin Malik Chua for this article.