Will Nike Valuation Hold Against Its 2020 Environmental Vision?

Jon C. Ogg

Should companies offer plans to the public about their vision for the years ahead? That depends on whom you ask. Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) has done just that with its 2014-2015 Sustainable Business Report. That is full of information, but what will matter the most to investors is that Nike has set new targets for its fiscal year 2020.

The timing of this vision is interesting. It was just a day before that Wells Fargo’s new team issued a mere Market Perform rating for Nike. The issues at hand are that valuations already reflect much of the expected growth and that competition is more intense now.

Nike’s new targets for its fiscal year 2020 span environmental impact areas and its entire supply chain. These are not exactly financial guidance, but more on how they intend to operate environmentally.

Nike plans to have zero waste from contracted footwear manufacturing sent to landfills or incineration without energy recovery.

The company also plans to source 100% of its products from contract factories meeting its own definition of sustainable.

Nike will create products that deliver maximum performance with minimum impact. It seeks to have a 10% reduction in the average environmental footprint, and the company will increase its use of more sustainable materials overall.

Nike even went out further than 2020 here. By the end of 2025, Nike hopes to reach 100% renewable energy in the company-owned or company-operated facilities, and it will encourage broader adoption of renewable energy as part of an effort to control absolute emissions.

Nike believes these efforts will deliver on its long-term strategy to leverage sustainable innovation, both as a powerful engine for growth and catalyst for change.

For whatever this is worth, Nike is one of the Merrill Lynch picks with dividends that may have a forever holding period. Nike also has proven over and over that Warren Buffett should have never sold.

Nike shares were last seen trading down 3.1% at $57.31. It has a consensus analyst price target of $71.32 and a 52-week range of $47.25 to $68.19.