One of the major issues facing manufactures of soccer goods, and the business sector as whole, is the question of sustainability. Its an undeniable fact that as we consume more and more of the Earth’s dwindling resources we will inevitably reach an environmental tipping point. The realization of this fact, has meant environmental and labor organizations have put companies across the globe under pressure to be more socially responsible. The new Nike GS “Green Speed” soccer cleats represent their latest attempt to produce a product that’s environmentally responsible and produced without child labor, and to be honest, it doesn’t look to bad either.
But making a pretty pair of boots like the Nike CTR360 Maestri or Total90 Laser from beans or plastics isn’t enough in its own right to make these shoes the wave of the future, so lets dig a bit deeper. In the early 1990’s Nike, and other major brands, learned a very painful lesson. A global boycott campaign against Nike’s environmental and labor practices was so successful that it has now become an object lesson in how giant corporations can be brought to account by ordinary consumers.
“Nike was targeted by campaigners because it was the world’s best-selling brand and because initially it denied responsibility for any malpractice that may be taking place in its sub-contractor factories,” explains Rob Harrison, editor of Ethical Consumer.
The campaign seriously hurt Nike’s global sales, and as it result it was forced to take responsibility for the practices of the factories and 3rd party suppliers it uses to produce its soccer boots. Today, the Fair Labor Association website states it’s possible to read more than 150 reports of Nike factory inspections conducted by independent third parties. But the point is, if you make a sustainable product, people are more likely to buy it, and you won;t have to spend any money defending yourself from boycotts, and that’s why the Nike GS soccer cleat is the wave of the future.
By making a soccer shoe that’s sustainable, and ethically sound, Nike have left adidas, Puma, and every other soccer brand in their dust. “Green” products are something people want to buy, and ion order to make them you have to develop new materials and technology, which leads to cool new soccer boots like the GS. Nike have made this core part of their growth plans for the next 20 years on a global scale so we can expect to more sweet new boots in the future featuring recycled materials. Try to think of all Nike soccer boots, regardless of silo, in the same way you’d think of any Nike licensed jersey. All the licensed jerseys are made from recycled plastic bottles, and soon all the shoes will be made from recycled materials too. They even have a name, for the new unit that will be focusing on it; The Sustainable Business and Innovation unit.
Adidas and Puma are working on sustainability plans of their own, as you can read here in this adidas document released to their shareholders and obtained exclusively by SoccerProse.com, they are going to have some serious catching up to do to match Nike for one main reason. Adidas and Puma are looking to make their existing products and supply chain more socially responsible, Nike are putting social responsibility at the center of the development of all of their new products with their Considered Design initiative. This will ensure they’ll have the edge on “green” technology for the next few years at least, and I’d look for more product like the Nike GS in the coming year.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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