LAUNCH members Nike Inc., NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State convened 150 materials specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs to catalyze action around one of the world’s biggest challenges—the sustainability of materials and how they are made.
Nike president and CEO Mark Parker kicked off the two-day LAUNCH 2020 Summit stressing the importance of innovation and collaboration. “Innovation is most powerful when it’s activated by collaboration between unlikely partners, coupled with investment dollars, marketing know-how and determination,” Parker said. “Now is the time for big, bold solutions. Incremental change won’t get us where we need to go, fast enough or at a scale that makes a difference.”
Through a multi-year incubation process, LAUNCH will uncover innovations in sustainable materials that can have a major impact on people and the planet.
The summit also unveiled the LAUNCH 2013 Challenge Statement, an open call for innovation to transform the system of producing fabrics. LAUNCH 2013 is open to individuals and teams. In August, the 10 strongest innovations will be selected and participants will take part in an immersive program to provide access to capital, creativity and capacity.
Nike vice president of sustainable business and innovation Hannah Jones said: “About 60 percent of the environmental footprint of a pair of Nike shoes is embedded in the materials used to make them. When you multiply that across our business, and across the industry, it’s clear that innovation in sustainable materials is a huge opportunity, not just for Nike, but for the world.”
Also speaking at the LAUNCH 2020 Summit was Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in the Women’s Marathon in 1984, and Ron Garan, astronaut and LAUNCH innovator. They both shared their passion for the environment and their unique view on the need for collaboration to achieve seemingly impossible goals.
Visit LAUNCH Challenge for further details and to register and apply online.