Nike teams up with Ant Group to launch shoe recycling mini program

Nike announced that it has joined Ant Group’s Green Energy Initiative and launched an official mini program on Alipay, the digital open platform, to encourage more consumers to recycle worn-out shoes. Chinese consumers can search the mini program “Recycle-A-Shoe” in the Alipay app and have worn-out Nike shoes collected for recycling. The shoes will then be dismantled and re-processed to make sustainable sport courts through Nike Grind tech.

By doing so, Nike’s Chinese customers will now receive virtual green energy points in Alipay Ant Forest, a green mini program. These received green energy points can be used to support tree planting, ecological restoration or bio-diversity conservation projects.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the initiative?

“In China, Nike continues to strive toward its goal of ‘Move to Zero’ and encourages the public to take part in environmental protection. The innovative cooperation with Ant Group allows Nike’s Recycle-A-Shoe program to reach more consumers through digital solutions on Alipay and incorporates Nike’s sustainability efforts into daily life, which is our long-term commitment,” said Stanley Chang, VP of Operations and Logistics of Nike Greater China.

“In the face of increasing challenges brought on by climate change, the private sector needs to encourage more environmental-friendly actions among consumers while committing themselves to reducing carbon emission in their business operations. We are delighted to partner with Nike to promote low carbon actions and better protect the environment through innovative solutions,” said Cheng Jiang, GM of Social Good Department, Ant Group.

What does the deal mean for the two companies?

It’s worth noting that Nike’s global “Recycle-A-Shoe” program has been active for 30 years. More than 30 million pairs of worn-out shoes and over 120 million pounds of footwear factory materials have been recycled and transformed into innovative sports products, such as basketball courts, soccer fields, running tracks, yoga equipment and interior decoration.

Launched in 2016, Alipay Ant Forest is a green initiative that encourages platform users to adopt low carbon activities in their daily life, which has attracted over 650 million participants since its inception. Platform users can gain green energy points for low carbon actions, including biking to work instead of driving and paying electricity bills online instead of offline.

Ant Group’s Green Energy Initiative, which features green energy points in Alipay Ant Forest, is open to brands that would like to offer their customers more incentives to take green actions. As of August 2022, the initiative has attracted participation from more than 500 brands across multiple sectors including travel, packaging and home appliance manufacturing.