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Date: 2024-06-25 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00004873

Product design

The Nike Environmental Apparel Design Tool


Peter Burgess

The Nike Environmental Apparel Design Tool Nike Environmental Design Tool ... Introduction

Nike is releasing its Environmental Apparel Design Tool with supporting data and methodology for public review. We hope by sharing this knowledge it will accelerate collaboration and encourage broader adoption of sustainability principles. The Tool evaluates waste, energy, toxics and water in materials and manufacturing, enabling companies to affect the most significant components of a product’s environmental impact. It is a beginning; a building block from which something better can be created. We welcome your collaboration. The more that our industry works toward a common goal, the more likely we are to develop scalable, viable environmental solutions.

For more information on Nike sustainable business and innovation, please refer to the Corporate Responsibility Report.

Understanding The Tool

Before learning how the Tool works, it is important to understand its intended purpose.

The Nike Environmental Apparel Design Tool is designed to replicate our internal Considered Index calculator with the exception that users manually enter the materials data. Like our internal Index, it leverages Nike’s collected data from more than a decade of evaluation of materials, and the examination of waste footprints in hundreds of apparel products across all sport categories.

The Tool serves as functional calculator with the ability to measure the impact of materials commonly used in manufacturing apparel products.

It does:

  • · Enable product creation teams to design in more sustainable product choices that affect the entire garment.
  • · Measure impacts in the design and development phases of the product process, the elements within the control of most product creation teams.
It does not: ·
  • Evaluate the entire product supply chain, including packaging or transportation.
Though important, these environmental aspects, as well as other critical social and environmental concerns, are the focus of separate, but integrated Nike initiatives. It is:
  • · Scientifically based and designed to be simple-to-use.
  • · Numbers-based, so a direct product, material, or process comparison becomes practical, understandable, and realistic to benchmark against.
  • · Easy-to-use and fits easily within the already demanding workload of our intended audiences: product creation teams, product designers, product managers, material suppliers and product manufacturers, students and universities, industry groups, and interested NGOs.

Nike_MAT_Materials Scoring How it Works '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_How It Works' Using the Tool Materials Scoring '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_Materials_Scoring' Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores - Summary PDF '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_ScoresSummary.pdf' Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores - Expanded PDF '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_ScoresSummaryExpanded.pdf' Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores - Excel Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Framework/Structure '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_Framework_Structure.pdf' MAT v2 Framework Summary Proposal (Nike's future direction for materials scoring) Restricted Substance List (RSL) & Sustainable Chemistry Guidance (SCG) Waste Scoring '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_Waste_Scoring.pdf' Garment Treatment Scoring '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_Garment_Treatment_Scoring.pdf' To view PDF files, you should download the free Adobe Reader software.


MAT Scoring

Why does my favorite fiber or material score so low?

See link to MAT scoring details for each fiber type: - 'Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores Matrix - Expanded' PDF. Some natural fiber scores indicate intensive use of chemicals in agriculture and textile processing. Our scenario is defined for a dyed / finished apparel textile end use so chemistry, water and energy intensity results are reflected in this.

Could fabric durability be a factor in materials scoring?

Evaluation of appropriate material selection based on end-use application is managed using a material testing protocol at Nike, and not via the MAT evaluation. Durability of a material can be affected by construction, blending, processing / finishing, and product assembly techniques. It is possible to consider these variables in future iterations of the MAT and / or Considered Index.

Why did you decide to move to even weighting in the 4 impact areas for v2 of your MAT?

We are moving to even weighting in the impact areas for MAT v2 to align with other approaches to impact assessments in the industry. Consensus related to the weighting of impact issues has not been established or standardized.

Do you plan in the future on having the trim content be as detailed as the fabrics?

Due to the large variety of items and contents that make up 'Trims' for apparel paired with their low footprint impact we chose not to define or numerically rate this area. We are looking at possible examples and EPM Trim guidelines that may provide additional information.

Does the tool consider manufacturing inputs (energy, water) and outputs (defect yield losses)?

Refer to: - 'Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores Matrix - Expanded' PDF. Yes, energy and water inputs / intensity are factored into the Energy and Water components of the tool. Material outputs / losses are considered in the Physical Waste section of the tool and will be accounted for in Version 2.0 of the MAT in more detail. However, we did not consider seconds rates as part of the losses as it is highly variable due to many manufacturing options and issues (even down to color), and not necessarily isolated to a particular fiber type or manufacturer. Defect losses is an issue that is highly relevant, but would assessed by quality assurance at the individual fabric production run level, and not the MAT.

For the tanneries suppliers are you going to use the BLC standard?

The BLC Leather Working Group protocol will be integrated into Version 2.0 of the MAT under a new section that addresses supplier best practice efforts. Although LWG is not included in the points for MAT v1.0, we require our tannery suppliers to be certified to the standard.

Any plans to assess/score the location in which materials and garments are produced?

Logistics and transportation impacts are considered in the MAT evaluation for materials and are accounted for in the Energy scores.

Can you tell us where the raw data for the model is coming from? Is that data available? Clarifying: is the environmental profile data for each fabric/finish available?

The web site shows two levels of detail under the 'How It Works' button. The most detailed version is titled 'Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores - Expanded PDF'. It provides the supply chain scenario for each material as well as the details that drove the score in each impact category. The data was derived from the best publicly available source as researched and complied by Brown and Wilmanns LLC.

Consumer Communication

Please see our CR Report for more information on Nike Sustainability.

Any plans to create a standard that the customer can come to understand and shop by?

We released the tool in hopes to inspire further collaboration to create global industry standards for a level playing field, encourage widespread industry adoption of sustainable design practices and have more sustainable products available for the consumer. The Considered Index and the Environmental Apparel Design Tool are intended for use by product creation teams, and while we hope the results will be interesting to consumers, it is really intended to to help Nike and other apparel companies do a better job, earlier in the design process.

Will you communicate or market Considered Index product scores to the consumer?

The Nike Environmental Apparel Design Tool is currently a design tool for the industry and students. The tool’s intended purpose is to accelerate industry sustainability knowledge. The consumer will benefit from more sustainable products being stocked on shelves. As a company, we set a 2015 target for 100 percent of our apparel to achieve baseline standards of the Considered Index.


Whilst assessing potential hazards of chemical choices, do you also consider potential exposure and integrate these two aspects to determine potential risk?

In the Nike Green Chemistry program, we use 18 tox endpoints to assess chem hazard, and rely on professional judgment of the toxicologist when there is no data for an endpoint. Exposure is a consideration for us and we use scenarios based on how the chemical is being used to prioritize substances for substitution with our materials vendors. Restricted Substance List (RSL) & Sustainable Chemistry Guidance (SCG) . For MAT evaluation and scoring, exposure is incorporated, but we are not determining risk. We use generic assumptions regarding developed vs developing countries and open processes vs enclosed processes to characterize exposure and combine that with a hazard assessment of a material to create a score for the four chemistry indicators—carcinogenicity, acute toxicity, chronic toxicity, and reproductive toxicity/endocrine disruption Please see the link for detail into how the MAT evaluates this area.

Are Endocrine Disrupters & Teratogens taken into account in your MAT chemistry evaluations?

We account for Endocrine Disrupters and Teratogens in both our Green Chemistry program with our materials vendors, and in the MAT evaluation scoring. More information on the MAT detail and RSL/Sustainable Chemistry at the following links: Material Assessment Tool (MAT) Scores - Expanded PDF '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MATScoresSummaryExpanded.pdf'

Restricted Substance List (RSL) & Sustainable Chemistry Guidance (SCG)

For the chemistry assessment do you assess chemistry of raw materials, fabric or finished product and what happens if there are no data for an endpoint?

For the Nike Green Chemistry program, we look to the chemical formulation when possible. This allows us to ID the hazard and also the potential for exposure. When data is missing on an endpoint, we rely on toxicologist best judgment. For MAT evaluation and scoring, chemistry is assessed from farm/wellhead through dyeing and finishing. If there are no data for an indicator (carcinogenicity, acute toxicity, chronic toxicity, and reproductive toxicity/endocrine disruption), we assign a hazard score of 3 on a 1 (high hazard) to 4 (recognized as safe or testing shows no evidence of harm).

Social Issues

What is the future plan for incorporating social issues into the tool? Such as scorecards for factories (includes code of conduct adherence) and raw material issues around human rights and labor rights (such as forced child labor in Uzbek cotton fields)?

The Considered Index and Environmental Apparel Design Tools are developed to accelerate industry sustainability knowledge by helping design teams make better environmental choices when producing product. This allows the people in those roles to focus on the areas that they can have the most impact and allow for real time adjustments. Nike, and other product companies, have Manufacturing and compliance teams, and corresponding evaluation tools, that focus on social and environmental issues related to those areas of the supply chain, allowing for increased focus and competency in these areas where it is most critical. The Environmental Apparel Design Tool needs to be used along with other business tools including restricted substances lists, and more.

General Scoring Questions

Are packaging and logistics included in the EADT scoring?

The Considered Index and Environmental Apparel Design Tools are developed to accelerate industry sustainability knowledge by helping design teams make better environmental choices when producing product. This allows the people in those roles to focus on the areas that they can have the most impact and allow for real time adjustments. Nike, and other product companies, have Manufacturing and compliance teams, and corresponding evaluation tools, that focus on social and environmental issues related to those areas of the supply chain, allowing for increased focus and competency in these areas where it is most critical. Most companies have separate packaging and logistics teams that focus on those areas, and are working to maximize environmental sustainability, and using the appropriate tools to measure.

What does the quantity in garment represents? you said that it can be some % or kg. Is it this data which is use to calculate the mass proportion of each fabric in the product?

The 'Quantity in Garment' section is for inputting the relative amount of each fabric (1-7) used in the garment (unit of measure is up to the user). This value allows the tool to calculate a weighted average materials score, and is also used to form the weighted average efficiency for the Waste scoring.

So the Total quantity in garment should be 100% if you use % unit, or the total mass of the product if you use kg?

Yes, regardless of the unit of measure that the user chooses to input (based on their data source or stage in the product creation process), the tool will calculate a weighted average score based on the input values.

How do you account for prints?

Currently, prints are not accounted for in the Environmental Apparel Design Tool. There are many ways to print a garment, and this can be done at several points in the manufacturing process, using many different types of ink and application methods. All of these input materials and processes would require separate scientific evaluations in the different impact categories. This is also a rapidly evolving area, so the environmental characteristics are very difficult to categorize and develop accurate scoring for, particularly as they can vary greatly between ink manufacturers and application methods. Basic chemistry standards for ink can be found in most Restricted Substances Lists, including Nike's.

In the finishing stage, is the washing (cleaning) typically for removal of oil or water soluble material - which one? Is it possible to break that down by garment or fabric type?

As there are different processes and (general) chemicals used between finishing cotton fabrics and synthetics, for example, these are accounted for in the MAT scoring. In this external Environmental Apparel Design Tool, because the fiber type selection and evaluation is standardized, some specific differences in processing fabrics between manufacturers and chemical suppliers cannot be accounted for. In our internal Nike materials evaluations though, our I.T.. system allows us to access specific fabric specs and dyeing/finishing details and we can distinguish some of these in our scoring. Our goal is that the business can use the tool as a baseline to tailor to their own business needs.

Is there a preferred or recommended system for handling environmental tradeoffs, for example high water use vs. high GhG footprint?

There is no agreement among experts about how best to weigh one impact against another. When we started to assess materials more than 10 years ago, chemistry issues were the driver, so we weighted it most heavily ( 40%) than Water/land (16%), Waste (20%) or Energy/GHG (24%). However, the general recognition of climate change and water scarcity caused us to evenly weight each of the impacts ( 25% each) for our upcoming MAT v2.

Tool Use

How is the tool used internally? Are there targets around using better materials etc?

Nike's internal version of the tool, the Considered Index Calculator, is used by product teams throughout the design process to evaluate the products that they are responsible for. There are both internal and externally communicated product sustainability targets that these teams are working to meet or exceed, and the measuring and reporting against them are, in part, generated by scores submitted through the Index Calculator. Our goal for 2015, for example, is that 100 percent of Nike apparel product meet baseline Considered standards.

Hello, where can one download the tool itself and code behind it, to customize for our own needs?

The Tool is available online so that apparel companies can use it to learn from Nike's experience and decide what applies to their company's circumstances. It is a functional tool as is on the website. Any company can use the concepts to create a tool that fits their system and product needs.

Are you sharing this tool with your factories and suppliers?

Nike's internal version of the tool, the Considered Index Calculator, has been communicated to our factories and suppliers, and we are in the process of rolling out our MAT v2 vendor evaluation, which involves our materials supply base in the Index process directly. Their progress and accomplishments in terms of environmental sustainability in their facilities and practices will have a direct effect on their materials' scores in the Index. This link provides more info on MAT v2. '../DBpdfs/Metrics/Nike/Nike_MAT_V2_Framework.pdf' alternatively this

Who is the target group of the tool? Have you thought about integrating it with e.g. CAD design tools?

The target group for the tool is Apparel Designers, Product and Materials Developers, Apparel Merchants, Pattern and Marker Makers, etc. Anyone involved in the apparel product creation process. We have been considering meshing our internal Index with various design tools in use here at Nike, as appropriate and technically feasible.

Does Nike have mandates or goals around product line performance scores from the tool? For example - an item must score X before going to market, or Y percentage of garments must meet a particular criteria?

Nike does have measureable seasonal and long-term targets set around Considered Index product line performance. This has been critical to the integration of environmental sustainability into our product creation processes and thinking.

Information on EADT

Will this session be recorded and available to view later?

Yes, a recorded version of the webinar session is available here.


Do you currently use this tool to educate your product designs? (watches, sports gear, non-apparel?) If not will you in the future?

Yes, the current internal Considered Index tool is used both as an evaluation/informational tool for design/development, and for educating the people working in the product areas that it covers. Currently, our internal product Indexes cover apparel, footwear, and bags. Materials, chemistry, and manufacturing processes for hard-goods such as watches, eyewear, etc. are sufficiently different from apparel/footwear/bags that an environmental evaluation tool would need significant adaptation before it is useful for these types of products.


Have you had any feedback from other brands that have tried this?

Feedback from other brands was critical in our development and improvement of the Environmental Apparel Design Tool. We conducted beta testing with several companies in the industry, along with more than 3 years of development and testing internally.

It is nice to hear that Nike designers are incorporating recycled materials into their products. Is there any effort to close the loop and actually recycle their old, worn shoes/apparel?

Closing the Loop is among Nike's primary long-term sustainability goals. We currently recycle worn-out sports shoes through our Reuse-a-Shoe program. For apparel, we encourage re-sale and donation as the most environmentally sustainable options currently and widely available to our customers.


THINK CHEMISTRY. THINK SUSTAINABILITY. The Nike webpage NIKE, Inc. is committed to systematic, sustainable change, to using the power of our brand to create positive social and environmental impact industry wide. This responsibility necessitates we examine every facet of our business, every point of our supply chain, even the chemicals used to make our products. Our goal is to protect the consumer, worker and the environment, setting our sights on attaining our goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. Nike established its first comprehensive list of restricted substances (RSL) in 2001 to guide our suppliers in the production of safe and legally compliant product. We’ve created Nike’s Restricted Substance List and Sustainable Chemistry Guidance to drive innovation as we strive to eliminate restricted substances and make products that comply with the strictest global legislation. We hold ourselves and our suppliers to the highest standards, expecting every supplier to understand their chemical impact and to join in our effort to find more sustainable ways to make our products. Together we will drive sustainable innovation.
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