Nike’s Green Shoe – Trash Talkin
Guest bloggers – Clare and Wambui
Last year, Nike and NBA star Steve Nash partnered to make a sneaker, endearingly named the “Trash Talk.” The shoe is made from leftover material from factory production of other shoes, which typically gets dumped into the trash. Sounds cool, but then you look a little deeper. The shoe costs a whopping $100. That’s a lot of change to charge for what was once waste. The shoe was also sold for only a limited time in a limited market. So this raises the question of, ‘Is it green or green-washing?’ So, would you buy the shoe?
Our summer intern, Wambui, gives her thoughts: “We, the consumers, must do the right thing. We must demand that companies be environmentally friendly and when they do, we must support their efforts. When we send negative signals to these companies by not buying their recycled products we kill the efforts of turning our communities green. Obviously, Nike has been caught between being ethically responsible and also maintaining its high-end image. It is a thin line, but ultimately we (the consumers) make the final decision – commit to buy green.”
Another intern, Clare, has a similar thought: “I hate it when big companies green-wash, and this is exactly what Nike’s doing: making a limited number of waste-free shoes compared to the thousands of its other ‘wasteful’ shoes and tooting its own horn about it. But I started thinking about this marketing ploy a little more. It’s not uncommon for Nike to make a limited number of shoes promoted by an All-Star NBA player. These shoes are marketed often times to young, urban men which just happens to be a target demographic RE3.org tries to reach. And no matter how hard we try (or dream), RE3.org is not going to have the same effect or scope on this demographic that Nike is. So if Nike can take its exclusivity approach to selling shoes and add a splash (or swoosh) of green and spread an environmental message to this demographic, maybe I can freely overlook this green-washing instance, since hopefully it can make my job a little easier.”
Lastly, Kelley’s, education and outreach coordinator, thoughts. “This isn’t green-washing, it is market research. Will an individual pay $100 for a ‘green’ shoe? Yes or no? $100 isn’t any more expensive than most basketball shoes. What if Nike produced shoes with recycled content but didn’t tell anyone? No harm in that, right? However, do consumers think recycled products are inferior? I hope not- because most are of equal or better quality. I think the question Nike was trying to answer was – by marketing a ‘green’ shoe do we get more sales?”
Would you buy the shoe?