Aligning profitability and sustainability A central issue that companies grapple with as they try to become more sustainable is how and to what extent they adopt this as part of their corporate strategy. Nike faces the same dilemma as it builds on the success of the ‘Considered’ initiative while simultaneously encountering challenges implementing the ethos across the entire brand. How far can and should Nike go in “considering the right thing and doing the right thing”? Businesses often strive to find the balance between being economically and environmentally sustainable. However, it is possible, with innovation, to align the benefits of these aspects and minimize trade-offs. For Nike to advance on the sustainability scale, it is imperative that they identify and pursue alignment mechanisms that will allow it to become profitable and sustainable. Integrating sustainability across the brand While Considered as an ethos is promoted and accepted across the Nike brand, a key obstacle to progress is its limited and non-uniform implementation across the various categories. Sustainability needs to evolve from being a strategic initiative to an organizational strategy that encapsulates all categories setting brand wide objectives, identifying resources, and establishing uniform metrics for performance. As noted in the case, sustainability for Nike is not just a CSR goal anymore rather a crucial factor in long-term growth and competitiveness of the company. Specific measures in the strategy to accomplish this could include creation of a comprehensive index covering all categories and products taking into consideration the differences in costs, prices, and targets. Secondly, modifying the operations to build in the impact of sustainable design, development and manufacturing on the production time line will allow for wider implementation of the practices. Furthermore, this helps incorporate iterative design through measurement, audit, and tracking through the product life cycle. Adoption would also increase if Nike can create a broader negotiating platform to enable all categories to benefit from price reductions from suppliers.
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