In a time when climate change is one of the most predominant issues that we face, it’s nice to know that some big corporations are on our side. Or are they? Most of the time we are left to fend for ourselves so it is a bit odd when there are those that seem to offer help to a problem they largely contributed to. Yeah, we stop using plastic straws, we stop using plastic bags, we do all that we can in our daily lives to help the planet but in a second all of our hard days work is erased because of large corporations refusing to do their part.
Nike ‘Space Hippie’ Promise
Nike recently announced their ‘Space Hippie’ collection which aims at reusing materials to make sneakers. They aim to make them with as little resources as possible. Essentially, this is about the equivalent of a steakhouse offering a vegan plate. Nike is one of the most unethical manufactures in the industry at the moment. They have had a longstanding reputation for running sweatshops and cutting costs whenever they can.
Their environmental impact is perhaps even worse than the labor conditions. They use few eco-friendly processes and materials. Organic and recycled cotton are rare in Nike products and they don’t seem to be doing much to stop any of this.
The only positives that we see coming out of the Nike company is their public commitment to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 100% by 2025. Then we have their upcoming ‘Space Hippie’ collection that is scheduled to come out in Spring. It’s a feeble attempt at trying to make any real difference but at least they’re trying right?
Monetize or Improve?
Nope. I don’t buy it. The collection is only 4 sneakers and there hasn’t been any word yet of it being mass produced. That leads me to believe that these sneakers will be hard to come by. When someone points out their unethical working conditions or their contribution to the climate crisis then they’ll be able to point to this collection. Then they’ll state that they have done their part combating climate change. Which of course will not be true at all but I’m sure it helps them if they convince themselves of it.
It’s hard to see when a company’s intentions are good. They always try to make it sound as if everything is great. Today, companies are trying to take advantage of the ethical consumer. People are trying to eat organic, shop cruelty free, and buy sustainable products. This is where many smaller companies thrived but now the big corporations want a part of it. The problem with this is that smaller companies probably had better products for the purpose they served.
Bigger corporations don’t necessarily have expertise in this area but they are simply trying to make products that will make ethical consumers buy them. Yeah, Nike is manufacturing recycled sneakers but would you really want those if they weren’t for the Nike Swoosh plastered on it? But people will buy them anyways. And I’m not going to lie, I probably will too. The Nike brand has consumers right where they want them. Just like Burger King incorporating a vegan burger, why? Money.
One company that does seem to be doing it for the sake of the planet, instead of the money, is Adidas. Unlike how Nike just takes wasted materials from their factories, Adidas goes out and finds plastic that is harmful too the environment. The Parley collection is centered around cleaning the ocean, which they actually do. Adidas finds plastic from the ocean and recycles it to use it in their clothing, shoes, and other projects like a football field they made with only ocean plastic. Adidas isn’t completely ethical either but they do a lot more than Nike to show that they actually care.
The sad part is, even after writing this, I am still going to buy Nike products. In fact, I am sitting here wearing a pair of Air Jordan 1’s ‘Rookie of the Year’. As a consumer, we can try to be better but, at the end of the day, we can only do so much. It’s up to the big corporations to do their part when it comes to climate change.