Nike makers

Nike, the apparel brand with the famous ‘swoosh’, has taken steps to increase its level of environmental responsibility.

During the last seven years, the manufacturer, mostly associated with footwear, has been busy collecting data on the materials used in its products. The result is a pretty app, called MAKING, which shows you this data in graphic format.

The noble goal is to increase understanding of the basic ingredients of, and processes in, manufacturing and to help designers make better, more responsible choices.

This is all great stuff. The developers have selected the most commonly used materials in their footwear, from rubber to silk, and present information clearly. The app´s setup is intuitive, focusing on easy-to-digest statistic, such as how much less water is used preparing a certain amount of jute than of, say, cotton. Rankings and comparisons are available, and the whole lot is visible on your smartphone (for which a similar app would be very revealing!).

The idea behind the presentation is simple. All the materials collected in the app are ranked according to their environmental impact. This is split into four main areas: chemistry, energy/greenhouse gas intensity, water/land Intensity, and physical waste. The scores for each are tabulated and then added. So the higher the total score, the smaller the environmental footprint of that material.

One important feature is that the app allows its users to rank the materials within each of those four relevant fields. Materials that have recycled or organic content increase the overall ranking.

Nike says that MAKING will continue to change and improve. At present, the app contains 22 of the most commonly used materials. We can imagine expanding this collection, and making specific selections not only for shoes, but also for clothes, cars, or buildings.

At the moment, the app is only available for Apple products.