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Nike and MIT Call for Textile Innovation to Combat Climate Change

Nike Energy GHG Making appNike is serious about sustainability.

The latest step in the athletic giant’s strategy to shrink its supply-chain footprint involves teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab to hasten the development of innovative materials.

“For more than a decade, we’ve worked hard to understand where our greatest impacts lie,” Hannah Jones, chief sustainability officer and vice president of the company’s Innovation Accelerator, shared in a statement, noting that the company has estimated its material choices account for about 60 percent of the environmental effects of one pair of Nike running shoes.

“This knowledge has focused us on the need to bring new low-impact performance materials to scale through innovative solutions,” she added.

As part of the partnership, a contest that’s open to the public kicked off Friday, calling for suggestions on how to engage industries, designers and consumers in valuing, demanding and adopting environmentally-friendly fabrics and textiles.

“Through this collaboration with Nike, the MIT Climate CoLab can help kick-start the conversation around materials by galvanizing our global community to start to tackle this immense challenge,” said Professor Thomas W. Malone, founder of the project.

The public’s involvement doesn’t end there.

Nike’s predictive app, Making (which launched two years ago to help designers and consumers make better decisions about their fabric and materials choices), has been updated to compare the climate-related impact of those picks alongside chemistry, waste and water.