Why Nike Kicks Butt in Sustainability

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Nike is making choices today that are intended to position the firm for effective competition in a sustainability-based economic environment. Several features of the firm, which have been fundamental to the company’s financial strength, are also instrumental in the company’s sustainability performance. Among the factors most important in its sustainability positioning are: 

Organizational design
Market strength
Market positioning

The primary reason for Nike’s sustainability advantage is leadership. The chief executive officer (CEO) and board are very supportive of sustainability and believe it to be

an essential component of the company’s long-term strategic objectives. Power is concentrated in the board chaired by founder Phil Knight, who retains controlling ownership in the firm. This allows the company greater flexibility in the options available for balancing social and financial objectives, and enables the company to make sustainability investments with a very long payback period.
The board plays a significant role in pushing the focus on sustainability. One critical move has been the shift from positioning sustainability as a compliance-related or riskoriented activity, as many companies do, to an opportunity for innovation. For example, in the past, one way Nike pursued sustainability was by reducing the level of regulated toxins used in its shoe designs. Today, the company uses the

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