Nike CSR and Enagement via Recycling Shoes

July 22, 2009

Nike has a program called ReUSE  A Shoe (  Constituents can drop off old, worn out shoes at specified drop-off locations that include Nike stores and collection partners.  One collection partner is the National Recycling coalition.  The web site has a map that shows the locations.  Old shoes are ground up and reused.  Here is how Nike explains it:

“Opened in 1993, our Wilsonville facility uses a “slice-and-grind” technique, where each shoe is cut into three slices – rubber outsole, foam midsole and fabric upper. These slices are then fed through grinders and purified. Once purified, these substances become three unique types of Nike Grind:

  • Nike Grind Rubber, made from the shoe’s outsole, is used in track surfaces, interlocking gym flooring tiles, playground surfacing and consumer products, such as new footwear outsoles and trim items like buttons and zipper pulls.
  • Nike Grind Foam, made from the shoe’s midsole, is used as a cushion for outdoor basketball and tennis courts, as well as futsal fields.
  • Nike Grind Upper, made from the shoe’s fabric upper, is used in the creation of cushioning pads for indoor basketball, volleyball courts and equestrian surfacing products. “

In the end old, old shoes live on and waste is reduced. 

But there is more to the public relations side of ReUSE  A Shoe.  ReUSE  A Shoe has its own web site, Facebook, and Twitter sites.  This creates a additional engagement channel for Nike—ways for two-way communication to occur.  The Twitter site is very active with posts and receives a number of questions from constituents as well.  The Facebook page has under 700 fans but is another way to stay in close contact with constituents.  For instance, when people hold recycle events for Nike shoes, they can post stories , pictures, and video to the web site (constituent-created content).   Visit the social media sites to see how Nike is engaging constituents.

Questions to consider:

1. Recycling is great but what is Nike doing to reduce waste on the production and distribution sides?  There is an argument to be made for reducing waste before a product is waste.

2. How might the constituents differ between those following Nike through their official channels verses the ReUSE  A Shoe channels? 

3. What benefit is there to reaching those interested in reusing shoes?

4. How does ReUSE  A Shoe fit with Nike’s other CSR messages?

5. How active does Nike (through ReUSE  A Shoe) and its constituents seem to be on both Facebook and Twitter?  Why does activity matter for engagement?

6.  How does this case fit with the notion of expectation gaps?


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