Football crazy, eco mad? Nike’s World Cup 2010 kits

March 9, 2010 by George Walker 

nikekit300If you’re football crazy and eco mad, Nike’s World Cup 2010 kits are set to please this summer. According to Nike, their new kit will bring the “most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced kit in football’s history”. But can the kit really please eco-lovers and footy fans alike? George Walker spoke to Nike about the recycled plastic kits which both you and the likes of Ronaldo, Robinho and Ji-Sung Park can wear this coming World Cup season.

Whether the thought of another World Cup gets you hiding behind the sofa, rampantly flicking through your Radio Times or bouncing up and down with excitement, there’s no denying that this year’s World Cup in South Africa is set to be the most watched sports event of the year. With many fans wanting to show their allegiance on their chests, Nike’s decision to use environmentally considerate materials is a great step for promoting knowledge about garment production to an international audience.

But just how green are these kits? Mega sports brands haven’t always been known for their environmental or ethical credentials – and that includes Nike.

Just one jersey from the new range of international kits uses up to eight plastic bottles. According to Nike, the whole launch will use up nearly 13 million plastic bottles and if all those bottles used were laid end-to-end they would cover more than 3,000 kilometres, which is more than the entire coastline of South Africa.

Charlie Denson, President of Nike, said: “This summer in South Africa, Nike will give footballers an edge by providing the newest and most innovative product for the game’s greatest players. With today’s announcement, we are equipping athletes with newly designed uniforms that not only look great and deliver performance benefits, but are also made with recycled materials, creating less impact on our environment.”

Here at we were interested in how Nike is planning to operate a more ethical image for the brand, so we asked a few questions to satisfy our curiosity. First we asked what other sustainable materials Nike is looking into for other lines. A spokesperson told us: “We use a variety of environmentally preferred materials such as PET, organic cotton, ‘green’ rubber, and many of our inputs into our shoes are recycled materials from factory production.”

So the kit fabric is improving, but what about the production of the kits? Although Nike does not own its own factories, a spokesperson for the brand said that it ‘rigorously audits factories’ to make sure they comply with legal requirements and Nike’s own Code of Conduct in terms of pay and working hours. For more information as to how campaigners think Nike needs to improve, visit The Play Fair campaign, a coalition of labour rights groups that seek to push sportswear brands that produce products to abolish sweatshop conditions in their supply chains and to respect labour rights.

Nike was quite frank about its desire to develop more suitable working conditions for employees: “Nike increasingly sees the need for further regional and global discussions among suppliers, governments, NGOs and – importantly – workers, about the degree to which wages across the industry are meeting workers’ needs.” Furthermore, Nike said it is  now starting to collaborate with stakeholders,one of the key steps to progress within the fashion industry. Although Nike admitted its work to make the company more ethical and environmental is ongoing, this work does seem to be a reality.

So, if you’re planning on heading to the pub (or even South Africa) to cheer along your chosen team this year, have a thought about your kit of choice. To paraphrase the song: “We’re football crazy, we’re eco mad, is Nike truly going green? We would be truly glad!”

National team home kits will be available from May 1 globally at local Nike store locations and at Away national team kits will be available from February 25 2010. Nike’s environmental planning strategies website gives more information on the brand’s plans for the future, and check out the Clean Clothes Campaign.


One Response to “Football crazy, eco mad? Nike’s World Cup 2010 kits”

  1. nike mens soccer fan on March 10th, 2010 4:13 PM

    I think this is an awesome step for Nike. I am a big fan of their products and plan on buying a few jerseys/uniforms before the world cup starts this summer. I noticed that they now feature customizable jerseys on their mens soccer store home page, will these be made of eco-friendly material as well?

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