With a universal push for eco-consciousness by companies both in and out of the promotional products industry, Nike is bringing a green edge to the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics, slated to be held in Tokyo from July 24 through August 9. For the summer games, Nike will supply Team USA athletes with Olympic uniforms made from recycled shoe parts and manufacturing scraps, along with jackets and pants made from recycled materials, including nylon and polyester. The sustainability focus is geared toward Gen Z consumers, born between 1995 and 2012, who prefer to shop sustainable, along with a greater company-wide push to lower its carbon footprint. It’s also very much aligned with similar initiatives in store for the upcoming Olympics; according to CNBC, athletes will sleep on bedding made of cardboard, and Olympic medals will be made from recycled electronics, including cell phones. 

Nike is on the path toward sustainability per its 2025 plan, when it aims to supply its factories and facilities with 100-percent renewable energy, with a 30-percent reduction in carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 2030. The company is also inviting customers to drop off their used shoes at any Nike location for a program called Reuse-A-Shoe, which repurposes worn shoes into new products, such as shoe soles, yarn and basketball courts—and, as the website says, to make it easier “for materials to live on from one product to the next.” But for the global company, it’s also on par with efforts being made by competitors. Adidas has pledged to manufacture 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes using plastic removed from the world’s oceans this year, and Athleta is aiming to convert 80 percent of the materials used to manufacture its products to sustainable fibers by year-end.

While providing apparel for the Summer Olympics, Nike will also be launching a sustainable sportswear line, the Move to Zero collection, which includes an assortment of products made from nearly 100-percent recycled materials, like recycled polyester and organic cotton. The collection will include a Windrunner jacket similar in style to the one that Team USA will sport, along with joggers, crew-neck tees, shorts and fill-zip hoodies. One of the leading products is the Space Hippie, a sneaker offered in four silhouettes that is made from scrap material collected from factories, which the company refers to as “space junk.” 


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.