Nike And Ethics
Nike is one of leading multinationals that sell sportswear and sport equipment. The multinational has about 800 branches in different nations. Since its foundation and incorporation in the 1960s, Nike has been a top selling brand. Nike ethical woes began in the 1990s when some of its workers in international factories complained of mistreatment. Activists and human rights groups raised their concerns about Nike’s response to the allegations. They urged Nike’s customers across the globe to boycott Nike’s products. Consequently, Nike’s sales began to decline, which in turn forced the multinational to lay off some workers.
Ethical issues in Nike
The complaints against Nike’s ethical standards revolved around infringement of human rights and labor laws. Workers in international factories especially in Indonesia and China complained of long working hours with low wages. Some workers received wages below the national minimum wages. Another issue was poor working conditions in some factories and abusive language. Factory managers were abusive when addressing workers and punished workers for breaking rules. In Vietnam, women were forced to run until they collapsed when they failed to wear the right shoes. Other allegations involved child labor. Child laborers allegedly produced some of Nike’s brands in poor working conditions.
In addition to poor labor practices, Nike was accused of polluting the environment. The multinational did not have policies that protected the environment around its factories. Wastes from factories were released into water sources and air, and this posed health risks to communities living near factories.
Resolving the Ethical Dilemma
Nike’ s management denied all allegations against it for many years. However, the multinational could no longer ignore its woes as demand for its products began to decline. The parent company began to inspect international factories and address the labor issues raised. The Fair Labor Association was established to inspect Nike’s factories and prepare independent audits of their performance. Nike became more transparent with its operations and standardized its wages. In its reports, Nike acknowledged the labor issues in South Asian market and pledged to address the issues. Clean air standards were established and implemented in all factories to conserve the environment.
Nike has remained committed to fair labor practices since the boycotts in the 1990s. Although there are some pending issues in some factories, Nike has proved its commitment to good working conditions, good pay and a clean environment. Boycotts against Nike products are sometimes viewed as a channel to address similar issues in other multinationals selling sportswear and equipment. These multinationals have improved their working conditions to avoid similar challenges.