Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from Adam Pasick:

Nike, the albatross, and sustainable design

photo by Kris Kr├╝g

A dead baby albatross is a tough act to follow.

Nike's Lorrie Vogel took the stage at Poptech this week to talk about the company's sustainable product design efforts.

Immediately preceding her was an devastating presentation from photographer Chris Jordan, who shared a series of photographs from Midway Atoll of baby albatrosses who had died from ingesting plastic from the massive Pacific Garbage Patch.

Conference organizer Andrew Zolli, visibly moved, asked for a moment of silence and then Vogel took the stage to talk about her efforts as general manager of Nike's Considered team.

She was frank about the challenges that Nike and other manufacturers face, especially the company's reliance on petroleum-based polyester and resource-heavy cotton. It takes about 700 gallons of water and 1,100 square feet of land to produce the cotton for one Nike T-shirt.