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NIKE's New Distribution Center to Make European Operations More Efficient, Agile, Sustainable

Images credit: Nike

NIKE, Inc. has unveiled the latest expansion of its European Logistics Campus in Belgium, to accelerate its drive toward “the supply chain of the future.”

The expansion will make Nike’s European operations more efficient, more responsive and more sustainable, enabling growth by serving consumers across Nike.com, Nike retail and wholesale partners in 38 countries, all from a single inventory location.

“Globally, we ship more than one billion units of footwear, apparel and equipment every year, which demands an agile, innovative and sustainable supply chain,” said COO Eric Sprunk. “The expansion of our European Logistics Campus demonstrates our commitment to bring the full range of Nike products to consumers more quickly, where and when they want it – whether it’s one pair of Flyknit shoes or a 10,000-item order for a retailer.”

This latest investment in a state-of-the-art centralized distribution network in the center of Europe, which employs more than 3,000 people, allows Nike to serve a vast network of retailers and consumers not just on the continent, but across the world.

“Our facilities in Belgium are a pinnacle example of how sustainable innovation is embedded into Nike’s growth strategy, which enables us to maximize our performance while minimizing our footprint,” said Bert Stevens, VP of Supply Chain Operations for Nike Europe. “The success of this expansion is a result of excellent teamwork, with great cooperation from local and national governments, and support from many partners and the local community.”

Sustainable innovation influenced all aspects of the facility, from the drawing board through to final construction, emphasizing Nike’s vision for a low-carbon, closed-loop future as part of its growth strategy.

Key features of the new facility include:

  • The European Logistics Campus uses 100 percent renewable energy, sourcing its power from five locally generated sources: wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass. Six onsite wind turbines produce enough electricity to power 5,000 households, and the onsite solar panels cover the size of three soccer fields.
  • The facility is fed by an infrastructure of canals, railways and highways. 99 percent of inbound containers reach the local container park by water, not road, saving 14,000 truck journeys a year.
  • Moving away from a traditional structure that requires more steel and concrete, the warehouse is a rack-supported building, reducing waste and material used, thereby minimizing its footprint.
  • More than 95 percent of waste generated onsite is recycled. Pathways used by employees around the facility are made from recycled footwear material.
  • Natural light is provided by many windows, a unique daylight capture system and smart, automated LED lighting help to reduce electricity costs, reduce environmental impact and provide a more productive workplace.
  • The facility was carefully designed to expand while supporting biodiversity. For example, sheep will help naturally maintain the landscaping, and onsite beehives will contribute to biodiversity through the pollination of flowers around the facility and in the local area.

Last month, NIKE released its latest sustainability report, which highlighted progress in curbing its waste and emissions, as well as announcing a shift this year in NIKE’s sustainability strategy to focus on finding new ways to create products from ‘waste’ materials. The company also became the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s newest global partner, a move in keeping with the sportswear giant’s goal to double its business with half the impact. Chief Sustainability Officer Hannah Jones cited the circular economy as instrumental in the company’s ability to innovate and continue to grow: “Sustainable innovation is an engine for our future growth and a catalyst for revolutionizing the way we do business,” she said. “We fundamentally believe the transition from linear to circular business models will accelerate our ability to create the future of performance products for the athlete.”


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