Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nike Goes "Green" and Becomes "Socially Responsible"

This college bowl season, look at team jerseys and note how ubiquitous the Nike swoosh has become in the NCAA. Nike has spent millions to associate their brand with anything that may be even remotely cool... and universities have become their partners in crime.

And recently, this "socially responsible" and self-proclaimed "green" corporation has teamed up with the "environmentally responsible" folks over at Hummer to bring us the latest cool thing.

The H3T's tires evolved from discussions between GM Design and Nike Design regarding the question of off-road performance footwear influencing off-road performance tires. The result is the innovative ACG TA tire, which addresses multiple traction environments with sand paddles, traction pads and multiple durometers of rubber defined by different-color breakouts - much like the design of Nike's ACG trail and hiking shoes.

Nike's influence on the interior includes the use of its Sphere material on the H3T's seats. The lightweight material, used by Nike in specialized clothing, can cool or warm the body without mechanical means. It also conveys a technical aesthetic that looks perfectly at home in the H3T. The seats also are enhanced by Nike Epic backpacks, which are integrated into seat-back clamshells and released with elastic bungees.

Nice. Apparently they thought overconsuming would be the next big thing.... I hope they are wrong.

I would like Nike to make the following New Year's resolutions:

1) Pay workers directly and take responsibility for them instead of paying subcontractors who siphon off money and force employees to work too many hours for too little pay. (My colleague Jeff Ballinger, who notified me of the Nike-Hummer partnership, has been to the subcontracted plants and seen the abuses taking place in person.)

2) Instead of teaming up with Hummer, team up with hybrids and promote energy efficient homes.

In short, let me call you "socially responsible" and "green" without having to type quotes around the terms.

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