Nike Launches Circular Design Guide Featuring MaterialWise


Iconic sneaker and apparel producer Nike has released an open-source circular design guide, created to give its fashion-industry peers a common language for sustainable design. The guide highlights MaterialWise as a source for hazard data and safer alternatives that unlock the economic potential of the circular economy.

Circularity aims to show that sustainability is a catalyst for innovation rather than a constraint. The guide shares 10 key principles and features case studies from brands such as denim mainstay Levi’s and Swedish outdoors line Fjallraven.

Green Chemistry, one of the 10 key principles, is a professional ethic, Nike says in the guide, which asks designers to consider how green chemistry can be used as a design tool and how plant-based materials can achieve the same aims as synthetic options.

An original MaterialWise co-design partner, Nike’s chemistry center of excellence has shaped the organization’s efforts to date including the creation of a universal, harmonized, GHS-based assessment methodology, a third-party verification process, a secure, cloud-based platform and an innovative transaction model for users and assessors.

As a Sponsoring Innovator of the MaterialWise pilot projects, Nike has helped to shape a collection of better chemistry alternatives with the objective of increasing high-quality data for proactive decision making throughout the manufacturing supply chain. Together, Nike, MaterialWise and its other partners will refine and scale the organization’s chemical-hazard screening tool and assessment process, creating a globally harmonized repository of chemical hazard alternatives for the apparel and footwear industry and beyond.

Nike, which accounts for almost a fifth of the U.S. sportswear market, is a leader in chemical management and circular economy design efforts. The company established a chemistry center of excellence in 2016. Nike has collaborated with industry groups to promote the use of better chemistry and limit the use of excess chemicals. The company’s designers and product developers are evaluated on the environmental impact and supplier practices of their designs, encouraging them to build sustainability into their creations.