Over the past 10 years, Chang Shin’s factory in Qingdao, China, has been an early adopter of energy efficient programs and renewable energy systems. By driving the adoption of energy efficient machines and practices, Chang Shin has reduced the energy usage needed for the production of the average pair of shoes from their factory by 50 percent.
Chang Shin’s factory in Qingdao was also the first supplier footwear factory to install rooftop solar panels, with the construction of a 850 kW beginning in August of 2014. The first full year of electricity generation was 2017, with the system producing over 2.3M kWh of electricity.
Nike has set a goal for contract manufacturers to send zero footwear manufacturing waste to landfill or incineration globally by 2020. Our partners are steadily closing in on achieving this goal, which is an important step toward a future where no materials used to make our products are wasted.
Since 2016, the percentage of footwear waste sent to landfill has decreased more than 5 percent, from 8.6 percent to 3.2 percent, while production has increased. Today, 96 percent of Nike’s footwear suppliers have achieved our goal of sending zero waste to landfills. Our suppliers have achieved this progress through rigorous sorting, tracking, and recycling of waste, coupled with identification, qualification and engagement with facilities that responsibly convert non-recyclable waste to energy.
At the Chang Shin factory in Qingdao, China, all waste is diverted from landfill and over 90 percent of it is reused and recycled. For example, the majority of high-density foam scraps generated is ground onsite and recycled into new midsoles while remaining scraps are sold to make new products.
Using materials efficiently when making products is essential for minimizing environmental impact and cost. That’s why Nike aims to reduce footwear manufacturing waste by 10 percent per pair by 2020.
Chang Shin and TaeKwang, two of Nike’s suppliers in Northern China, are leading the way toward this goal, showing consistent, measurable reduction in waste generated resulting in an average of 10 percent decreased waste per pair manufactured in the last two years.
For this goal to be realized, factory leadership’s prioritization of waste reduction and an approach that involves everyone on the factory team in identifying and realizing waste reduction opportunities were the key unlocks to this reduction.
For example, Chang Shin and TaeKwang uses a steel ball to prevent the foam material used to make midsoles from leaking out of the molds during production. This simple practice saves 1 to 2 grams of material per pair – a seemingly small improvement with a big impact when millions of pairs of shoes are made per year. Additionally, this innovative practice not only prevents waste from being sent to landfills, it also avoids the need to make as much material in the first place.
The Shenzhou Group’s textile mill in Ningbo, China has reduced its water use by nearly 15 percent through conservation. Over the past few years, Shenzhou has replaced older equipment with new, state-of-the-art technology that maximizes water efficiency. By moving pipes from underground to above, the facility is able to identify leaks much more rapidly. The efficiency of this new equipment also drives down energy use, since using less water means less energy is needed to heat up water for the dyeing process.