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Q: Nike Inc. information that shows them in a negitive light. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Nike Inc. information that shows them in a negitive light.
Category: Relationships and Society > Relationships
Asked by: bren-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 27 Jun 2002 05:22 PDT
Expires: 27 Jul 2002 05:22 PDT
Question ID: 34056
I would like to know how Nike Inc is viewes in the international
business world in areas of human right,
Subject: Re: Nike Inc. information that shows them in a negitive light.
Answered By: bethc-ga on 27 Jun 2002 10:10 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello bren-ga,

The Internet is brimming with examples of Nike’s human rights
failings, and the world has not failed to sit up and take notice. From
human rights groups, to academics, to finally the international
business community, an awareness has spread that, not only are these
types of abuses an affront to humanity, but ultimately, they are bad
for business. I have quoted some examples of the type and breadth of
abuses, and then have cited some of the indications that I have found
regarding the feeling of the international business community.

“An Open Letter to Nike 's CEO, Philip Knight”
Human Rights Workers Bulletin: Vol. IV, Bulletin No.18, September 23,

This is the text of a letter signed by 43 workers rights groups and
advocates from 15 countries around the world, released on September
22, 1999.  The release coincided with Nike's annual shareholder
meeting held at Nike's new European headquarters in Hilversum, the

In it, Knight is taken to task for not following through on a promise
made 17 months previously to improve conditions in Nike factories. In
addition to low wages, other problems were identified in the
factories, including fire hazards, firing workers for attempts to
unionize, abuse of workers (both physical and verbal), and health
violations. It noted that little progress had been made, other than to
replace a highly toxic glue with a safer, water-based product in one
factory in Vietnam.

The full text of this lengthy letter, as well as a list of the
signatories and their contact information, can be found at Maquila
Solidarity Network, which is a Canadian group promoting better working
conditions among factory workers in Mexico, Central America and Asia.
Maquila Solidarity Network

Oxfam, Community Aid Abroad, based in Australia, conducts a “Nike
Watch Campaign”.

 Their Reports and Analysis page:
offers links into reports on conditions in Nike factories worldwide,
and the “inadequacy of Nike’s current monitoring system”, with the
latest report being March 2002 (We Are Not Machines). In this report,
Nike workers in Indonesia are reportedly abused and harassed to
increase productivity, are exposed to numerous health and safety
hazards, jailed for union activism, and guarded by Indonesian
soldiers. Nike is given credit for making only small improvements in
working conditions. Workers still make the equivalent of US$2 per day,
and those with families must either go into debt or send their
children away to distant villages to be looked after by relatives.

Nike responded to this report indicating that, through its Global
Alliance for Workers and Communities (a joint initiative with Gap, the
World Bank and the International Youth Foundation) it is already aware
of these problems and is running assessment, training and development
programs in 30 factories. The problem with this is that there are
currently more that 900 factories making Nike products.

The full report can be downloaded in PDF format from this page:

An article in Action News, Winter 2000, published by WorldVision
Australia reports that Nike incurs 12 cents in labor costs to produce
a pair of shoes retailing for $80.00. The article further states:

“In a recent survey of international businesses by a London business
consultancy, 71% of respondents acknowledged that activists had
affected their operations over the past five years, while 77% saw the
role of the activists increasing in the next five years. Amnesty
International, in its new report Human Rights: Is it Any of Your
points out that companies are recognising the importance of
responsible behaviour. It quotes the president of an Asian petroleum
company: "The world's markets just won't buy products if they are
manufactured by countries that exploit child labour, that are
dictatorial and that destroy the environment. Eventually business
people will have no choice but to take part in the process of solving
our social problems."

After the abovementioned labor cost report, Nike hired a “recognized
external accountant” to monitor and insure that its factories were
operating responsibly.

Action News, Winter 2000
WorldVision Australia
TNC’s and the Poor
(transnational corporations)

In the Corporate Social Responsibility Forum article entitled:
Business Citizenship and Partnership with Civil Society: Challenges
for Japan in a Globalising World, written by Robert Davies, April
2000, Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University, Tokyo; the
author says:

“As we enter the first decade of the 21st Century and face the
unprecedented opportunities and forces of globalisation, civil society
is taking on a vital importance for stability and harmony in the new
world order. While this is increasingly recognised by the
international community, it is also being recognised by the key
players in economic development and globalisation – the private
enterprise sector, and in particular leaders in international

He goes on to describe changing public attitudes toward the civic
responsibility of business, and cites a poll taken in 1999, unusual
for its global scope, conducted by Environics of Canada. It queried
25,000 people in 23 countries, and pointed to widespread concerns
regarding  human rights, labor standards, health and safety,
environment and business standards.

“These 'top-of-mind' findings, which were remarkably consistent across
all regions of the world, underscore the importance of meeting the
broader social expectations of consumers in order to safeguard
corporate reputations. Consumer activism and the widespread tendency
for consumers to 'punish' companies that offend principles are well
known – just look at the campaign rightly or wrongly waged against
Nike on school campuses.”

Corporate Social Responsibility Forum

In the interest of balance, I tried to find references to achievements
that Nike had made, or significant steps that the company has taken to
improve the lot of their workers. The most interesting counterpoint
that I found was a column by Nicholas Kristof, whose columns are
distributed by the New York Times News Service. Coincidentally, it
appeared in this morning’s Cape Cod Times, which is my daily
newspaper. He takes the interesting (and unpopular) viewpoint that
sweatshops may be preferable to the alternative for many people; which
is unemployment, begging, starvation, etc.

In regards to Nike, specifically, he says:
“Nike used to have two contract factories in impoverished Cambodia,
among the neediest countries in the world. Then there was an outcry
after BBC reported that three girls in one factory were under 15 years
old. So Nike fled controversy by ceasing production in Cambodia.

“The result was that some of the 2,000 Cambodians (90 percent of them
young women) who worked in those factories faced layoffs. Some who
lost their jobs probably were ensnared in Cambodia’s huge sex slave
industry—which leaves many girls dead of AIDS by the end of their
teenage years”

The full text can be found here, and is definitely worth reading:
New York Times

Berglund Center
Globalism and the Internet
In an essay on Globalism and the Internet, Jeffrey Barlow, Editor, The
Journal of Education, Community and Values: Interface on the Internet,

 “However much activists criticize international firms such as Nike
for their practices in overseas production, it is also true that jobs
producing in and for the global market are not only a welcome
alternative to traditional poverty for many workers in countries such
as Indonesia or Vietnam, they are often the only alternative.”

I hope that this information answers your question. If you should need
clarification or additional information, please do not hesitate to



Search criteria:

+Nike +”human rights”
+Nike +”human rights” +”international businesses”
+globalism +Nike
bren-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
It was great

Subject: Re: Nike Inc. information that shows them in a negitive light.
From: bethc-ga on 30 Jun 2002 11:09 PDT
Thank you, bren-ga for the nice words and many stars. I'm glad my
information was helpful to you.

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