Valued at $19 billion, the world’s largest provider of athletic attire, equipment, and footwear, owns and operates factories and logistics centers worldwide. From an environmental standpoint, Nike has invested heavily in sustainable technology and business practice. In 2012, Nike opened NIKE Materials Sustainability Index for public use, to track the environmental impact of procuring, utilizing, and marketing its raw materials and products.

In 2011, the company achieved LEED Platinum certification for their China Logistics Center located in Taicang, China, the company’s largest distribution center in Asia. The 200,000 square meter facility handles the logistics of all domestic shipping of Nike products to provide them to Chinese consumers. It is the first LEED Platinum warehouse in China, and is expected to create 1,500 permanent jobs in Taicang. It is also Nike’s 7th major distribution center.

The space embodies the spirit of financial growth and environmental sustainability. China is the second largest consumer of Nike products, and the logistics center hopes to meet the growing demand. With this space Nike shows commitment to long-term, particularly through its energy savings. The space is expected to save an upwards of 4,400,000 kilowatts of power annually through its large use of efficient lighting, on-site solar heating system, and large access to natural light, among other amenities. These savings in turn are projected to reduce CO2 emissions by 4,200 tons annually. The center also has a real-time display of the power saved to date.

Sustainability was central to the construction of the facility. Shanghai Pacific Energy Center (SPEC) was the LEED consultant on the project and had worked with the Nike team from the project’s inception right up until it was completed. The majority of materials were sourced within 800 km of the project. The general contractor recycled 97% of waste product during construction, and 50% of the wood products used were FCS-certified. Raw materials from the plant that would normally be converted to waste by-product are shipped to a nearby paper plant 10 km away to be reused and recycled. The facilities also use water efficiently and are designed to reduce annual water consumption by 80% over baseline. On site there are three man-made ponds to accumulate runoff and rain water, which are reused for irrigation of plants on the premises as well as the emergency sprinkler in case of fire emergency.

Nike’s Taicang Logistics Center represents a model for other companies to follow. It is testimony to a new age of corporate branding through sustainability. With this logistics center, Nike continues to represent itself as a company that remains both profitable and sustainability active. According to Craig Cheek, vice president and general manager of Greater China for Nike, Inc., “The new China Logistics Center represents Nike China’s commitment to doing business in the Greater China geography with environmentally-conscious practices. China is NIKE’s second largest, single market and we continue to drive towards our goal of doubling our revenue here by 2015.” 

Learn more about LEED in China