Collab’s Sustainability Board

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Collab’s Sustainability Board.

This board features world-renowned experts who are defining the climate conversation across every corner of the economy, including: energy, materials, food, technology, culture, and more.

These leaders have already been instrumental in evaluating new investment opportunities, understanding evolving customer drivers, and unlocking growth for our portfolio companies. We’re grateful for their support.

To kick things off, we’d like you to meet Noel. He currently leads Nike’s climate efforts, focusing his time on decarbonizing the company’s supply chain and introducing circular business models to its customers.

Along with his current role as Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel has served a variety of other critical business functions during his 20+ year tenure at Nike, spanning strategic planning, finance, manufacturing, quality, and operations.

Six Questions for Noel Kinder, Chief Sustainability Officer at Nike

1. What was your moment of obligation to work on climate?

I’ve worked for Nike for more than 23 years now. It’s the greatest sports brand on the planet, but as I have watched smoke from forest fires choke the Portland area over the past 3 years and my teenagers have needed to move their football and soccer practices indoors because of extreme heat, it has become crystal clear to me that our ability enjoy sport and all the benefits that come with it are under threat.

2. What aren’t people talking enough about? The “how” that comes after a climate commitment. Making a commitment (ideally, in line with the prevailing science) is a critical first step, but companies that have made commitments now need to put in the hard yards of developing and implementing a plan that shows a pathway toward achieving them.

3. Who is doing great work but flying under the radar? At Nike, materials like polyester, cotton, and rubber are the biggest contributors to our carbon footprint, so finding drop-in replacements for them gets the most attention. It’s really energizing to see innovations in bio-based and carbon-upcycled materials, but we also need to solve the circularity problem. People tackling that challenge with new business models and technologies that enable fiber-to-fiber and even whole garment recycling don’t get celebrated enough.

4. What have you changed your mind about in the last decade? I don’t know if I’ve changed my mind per se, but I have come to realize the criticality of collaboration within and across industries. Climate change is an existential threat. We are going to need to think differently about how we work together to find solutions.

5. If you had a magic wand, what’s an emerging technology that you would make available right now? Even more than any emerging technology, I would scale existing technologies that meet performance and sustainability requirements. There are so many great alternative materials that Nike could use if only they were available in larger volumes to meet Nike’s scale. The challenge is finding solutions that we can introduce to millions of athletes around the world to bring about real change.

6. If you could have dinner with any Nike athlete, who would it be? I’ve met a few over the course of my career and they are all really inspirational. But, I never met Kobe and I would have loved to.