The staff of Fortune and a panel of experts recently named 50 companies to its 2016 Change the World list. Nike is one of them.
Nike (NKE) CEO Mark Parker likes to ask his team a single question: “Can we double our business, while halving our environmental impact?” The world’s largest athletic gear company, which first kicked off a recycled shoe program back in 1990, has hit a steady sustainability stride ever since. In a recent report, Nike disclosed that 71% of footwear and apparel uses “Nike Grind,” which is made of recycled polyester and other materials. Grind can be found in yarn and basketball shoes. It has also been incorporated in more than 1 billion square feet of sports surfaces—including running tracks, playgrounds, and football fields—replacing surface materials like virgin rubber. Meanwhile, the popular Flyknit shoe line, which initially debuted in 2012, is both innovative and eco-friendly. Engineers reduced waste by about 60% on average for every Flyknit shoe vs. what’s used for traditional shoes, saving nearly 2 million pounds of fabric-scrap waste since 2012. New 2020 targets include sourcing 100% of cotton more sustainably and reducing landfill waste. There’s no finish line to becoming a more sustainable company, but the sportswear maker is certainly competitive in the race.
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A version of this article appears in Fortune’s September 1 issue as part of the Fortune Change the World list, our annual ranking of major companies whose business activities are having a positive social impact. Click here to see the entire package.