It was only 20 years ago that Nike was facing child labor and sweatshop allegations, with consumers protesting outside Niketown stores. All this is hard to believe, given the steady stream of corporate social responsibility (CSR) accolades in the last 10 years.
In 1998, then-CEO Phil Knight promised change. The company struggled to put new policies in place and enforce them. In 2005, Nike published its first version of a CSR report – in which it detailed pay scales and working conditions in its factories and admitted continued problems – and took the dramatic step of publicly disclosing the names and addresses of contract factories producing Nike products – the first company in its industry to do so.
More recently, Nike made this information available on an Interactive Global Manufacturing Map; there, you can click on a factory to see its name, number of workers, percentage of female and migrant workers and what’s made there. A major change from the days when Nike faced accusations of labor rights in its supply chain, it takes transparency to a whole new level.
Nike recognized its issues, demonstrated transparency and worked toward change – and today it is counted among CSR leaders.
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