Nike was one of the early corporate leaders in sustainability. First they got embarrassed by social conditions in their contract factories. Next they wondered what else might cause a PR disaster and they started looking at their environmental impacts. Now they see a clear interdependency between social+environmental issues and their business: fossil fuel driven air pollution has cancelled marathons and climate change is undermining traditional winter sports.
Among other things, they’ve signed onto the RE100, a commitment to get all of their energy from renewables. In this latest power purchase deal, they are half way there.
It’s good news, but there’s also something that troubles me. They are in effect paying to put up a wind farm in Texas. Should we let corporations off the hook by building renewable energy facilities in someone else’s backyard? In the long run, if we only can allocate so much land to make energy, is this the best use? Expensive running shoes and apparel? Some day we may have to answer that question.