I used to take Nike to task for talking big on social responsibility but doing little. Eager to reverse their negative reputation associated with sweatshop use, they trumpeted feel-good initiatives but didn't have much substance to those initiatives.
Fast-forward to the present, and I'm giving Nike some love for doing the opposite: becoming more environmentally sustainable, but doing it on the quiet: "Nike Goes Green. Very Quietly." Or, as a branding consultant put it: "Nike has always been about winning. How is sustainability relevant to its brand?"
A lot, operationally at least: recycled materials, elimination of excess waste, a faster assembly time that therefore uses less electricity. These are planet-friendly measures that happen to save costs without compromising quality.
So while Nike might not trumpet its green bona fides from a branding standpoint, it is nonetheless innovating from a sustainability standpoint for the purpose of operational competitive advantage. So after years of talking big and doing little, I applaud the athletic giant's commitment to a quieter, more operationally strategic contribution to the green revolution.