This paper concentrates on analyzing the business ethics of Nike by making use of data collected from Nike on a global basis. In the global market place companies like Nike are expected to set a global standard. …
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Also the ethical implications related to the disclosure method adopted by Nike related to its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) stature is discussed in detail. The company Nike has responded in a professional manner to the many labor issues it has faced over a span of the past 10 years. A detailed audit related to the ethics of the business and possible changes which can make the company Nike a better workplace are dealt with in this paper. Introduction Nike created a code of conduct related to work place ethics after it was seriously allegated of making women and children work under hazardous conditions with minimum wages especially in developing countries like China. Nike is a leading marketer of athletic apparel and shoes and it has its operations and sales outlets spread across the globe. Nike is not involved in the actual manufacturing of its products; rather the company is involved in designing the products marketed by it. Nike makes use of workers on a contract basis for the purpose of manufacturing in nearly 600 factories which are scattered across the globe and employs almost 800,000 people (CSR Report, Nike, pg.25). With such a huge work force the company faces issues related to ethics at work place and as the company is globally accredited it also faces Corporate Social Responsibility related ethical dilemmas. Corporate companies have to follow a responsible path and make sure the way with which they act and take their business ahead is within the permissible limits of ethics. In the year 2004 Nike released its Corporate Social Responsibilities report, first of its kind in accordance with the Global Reporting Indicators (GRI). The mission of GRI deals with developing, publicizing sustainability guidelines and global responsibility. GRI is process oriented and the indicators can be made use of while reporting environmental, economic and social aspects related to products, services and activities of the company. In this research paper these GRI indicators will be applied to perform the ethical social audit of the company Nike. As at present there is no strong code of conduct present to enforce labor standards on an international basis as many countries especially developing ones have limited ability in relation to enforcing labor laws (Cohen, Sabel, 2006). There were only 24,291 direct employees at Nike during the year 1990 who worked in the United States and the major work force in manufacturing factories of Nike was from developing countries on a contract basis. Nike has been criticized for the ethics of the company when it comes to outsourcing. In many of its factories across the globe the problems of low wages, human rights and poor working conditions were prevalent. Though the management at Nike did not accept responsibility for such poor work conditions at first, during the year 1992 a well formulated code of conduct in relation to the labor, health and environmental standards was observed and followed by Nike. The minimum age for labors was increased to 18 years and all the footwear suppliers were insisted to adopt the United States Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) standards at work place. To deal with labor practices issues Nike created the Nike Environmental Action Team (NEAT) in the year 2000. There are more than 100 corporate responsibility managers at work in Nike at present and there are over 1000 production managers working across the globe. An ethics audit deals with the manner in which the ethical practices and procedures adopted by a company can be assessed. On a professional basis the ethical standards have moved from being comprehensive to being more detailed.
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