This post concerns our presentations today on CSR. My group briefly presented a list of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens in 2007”, which was put together by an American company called KLD. As we discussed in class, what our group found the most shocking was that Nike was among the top 3 corporate citizens to be mentioned. I personally couldn’t believe this fact so I decided to look into what exactly Nike, the company pined for child labour and sweat shops, is doing to be recognized as a CSR leader.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. According to a 2006 article in Business Week called Nike Goes Green, the company spent millions of dollars throughout a 14 year period to eliminate an environmentally harmful chemical that was being used in the heel of its Nike Air line of running shoes. To quote the article directly: “Nike sees the effort as part of a broader strategy to embrace social responsibility without compromising profits or product performance.” Also, according to another 2006 article called Nike: Not just doing it for themselves, Nike partnered with the United Nations as well as Microsoft to create a global awareness campaign called ninemillion.org. This campaign is aimed to increase awareness about young global refugees and raise money for education and refugee camps. Another direct quote: “Once viewed more as a silo function, managing risks and reputation, corporate responsibility is increasingly embraced throughout <Nike> as a source of growth and innovation.”
Although these are just two quick examples, they are enough to demonstrate that Nike has seriously responded to the harsh criticism it once received concerning CSR. Finally, I think it’s important to point out that Nike chose to remain relatively quiet about the positive changes it has made in terms of its strategies and initiatives. To me this displays a degree of humility within the company and the intentions for “good” CSR. On that note, I would also like to add that I did not come across any articles relating directly to the issue of sweat shops…
— unfortunately the links to the articles can’t be copied because they part of a secure network for the University of Ottawa —