Nike is picking up on shoppers thinking more and more about the environment, and how they can slash their own carbon footprints, as they purchase apparel and footwear.
"The consumer increasingly cares about sustainability," Nike CEO John Donahoe told CNBC's Sara Eisen on Wednesday, marking his first television interview since taking the helm at the retailer last month. "It matters to Nike and to consumers. ... [Consumers] are looking to companies like Nike to lead."
Donahoe, who was already a Nike board member, succeeded Mark Parker. He was previously CEO of ServiceNow, and before that CEO of eBay. As CEO, Donahoe is expected to focus and build on Nike's digital investments, such as its mobile apps, given his background in the tech industry.
Donahoe's interview on CNBC's "Closing Bell" came on the heels of Nike earlier Wednesday announcing its plans for outfitting athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in gear made out of recycled polyester and ground-up shoe parts. It unveiled a slew of new products for consumers, too, including another pair of carbon-plated running shoes.
The company also helped renovate a high school stadium in the Miami-Dade area. The high-tech field has magnetic sensors in it to increase training and performance, and it also used rubber from recycled athletic footwear to create the field.
"Climate change is impacting sport," Donahoe said, adding that the Olympics this summer are expected to be the hottest on record.
Only a month into the new job, Donahoe said he is aiming to take Nike "into its next chapter in a more digital and global world." He has spent recent weeks in both China and Japan to understand how consumers are interacting with the Nike brand globally, he said.
However, retailers in 2020 shouldn't use words like "physical" and "digital" to describe their businesses, Donahoe said. "That's not how the consumer thinks."
Nike's stock closed Wednesday down less than 1%. Its shares are up more than 20% over the past 12 months. The company has a market value of more than $156 billion.