ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines

We’re using less and less freshwater when we make our products, and we want to ensure that the water we do use can be cleaned and returned into the environment.

We insist our suppliers comply with local wastewater discharge laws at a minimum, but the law varies from country to country, and what’s acceptable in some places isn’t always enough for Nike. That’s why we’ve developed wastewater quality standards that go beyond focusing solely on the restricted chemistries.

Co-leading the Development of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines

In FY15, Nike co-led the development of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Wastewater Guidelines, a collective effort of all member brands in the ZDHC coalition to continuously improve wastewater discharge quality. We also set up a global wastewater disclosure database to help suppliers optimize testing and disclosure of wastewater quality.


With higher standards, suppliers can use less freshwater, lower their risk to water scarcity and work towards fully-recyclable, closed-loop water use. Our vision is a supply chain with zero industrial wastewater discharge. We want to be so successful that we make the need for wastewater quality guidelines for our suppliers obsolete.


In April 2017, we required 80 percent of our apparel and footwear materials suppliers to met the requirements of the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. Since then, we’ve found that our materials manufacturers have some opportunities to reduce their use of restricted chemicals, but have even more opportunities to improve on how to treat their wastewater. From this, we know that the challenges we face are not insurmountable and can be overcome with proper training.