Nike- Just Don’t Do It

In an earlier post, I researched Nike’s code of conduct and the prevalence of public thought about such codes of conduct. Though I briefly mentioned Nike’s poor performance in complying to its own standards, I felt that a more in depth coverage of the corporation’s practices was necessary. Thus, in this post, I will explore further three aspects of Nike’s unethical trade practices: its refusal to fully compensate its workers with fair wages, its continual use of unsanitary and unsafe conditions in its factories, and its use of child labor around the world.

In my previous post I mentioned an article describing the extent to which Nike fairly pays its workers.  As you have seen, this amounted to very little. The Article found that, in some factories, “ … workers are still paid less than the local minimum wage.” Obviously, A company cannot present itself to be ethical if it does not even pay workers the area’s already low minimum wage. Another website compared the minimum wages of countries which house Nike factories and interviewed an Indonesian factory worker: “ “If I don’t work overtime, I can’t survive,” says Baltazar at PT Hasi Nike factory in Jakarta. He works an average of 40 overtime hours a week.” Nike cannot continue to support this kind of labor—the idea of someone working eighty plus hours a week, just to survive, should not be acceptable in the twenty first century.

Though Nike has been trying to give the public an image of itself as a changed company, Nike has failed to better the working conditions of its factories. For example, one article suggests that “ … significant health and safety issues still remain. Workers in some sections of the plant still faced overexposures to hazardous chemicals, and to heat and noise levels. Respiratory illness rates remained a concern”.  Another article uncovered that, in addition to health hazards, many of Nike’s factory workers have to deal with ” … widespread verbal and physical abuse, shockingly high rates of sexual harassment, forced overtime, [denial of] sick leave, inadequate access to medical care, and … worker deaths.” These working conditions must be improved and Nike’s actions cannot be tolerated.

Probably the most frightening practice employed by Nike is its use of child labor. One case study observed that children around the world, “ … some as young as 4 and 5 years of age, are involved in the production line.” The disparity in wealth between nations is so great that children in one country produce the toys for another country’s children. For example, the case study suggests that “ … if you go to a shop to buy your child a new soccer ball … there is a good possibility that the ball has been made by someone your child’s age or even younger.” It seems that the ” … Nike success story is not based on good name and advertising alone but also attached to it is the tears of tortured workers and child labor.”

As a final note, I encourage readers to make an effort to change this world for the better. Until Nike pays workers fairly, improves working conditions, and ceases its use of child labor, decrease the amount of Nike products that you use. And this should not just apply to Nike. Research the companies and brands you buy from daily and try to limit transactions with those which have questionable ethical backgrounds. By consciously thinking about where the things we buy come from and making just small changes in our purchasing decisions, we can greatly improve the lives of many people around the world.

So as to buying that new pair of Nike sneakers: Just Don’t Do It.

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4 Responses to “Nike- Just Don’t Do It”

  1. Masood Ashraf Raja Says:

    Hi You all:
    Great work. Remember to always use appropriate ‘tags’ consistently, which would help your blog to be featured in its category and Tag.
    Tight now yours is the featured blog in blogs on “Unethical Companies” in the wrodpress records: http://en.wordpress.com/tag/unethical-companies/

  2. Raphael Glacet Says:

    Hey there,

    This is truly a great article; I myself never thought Nike was so “unethical”!
    I read all the information that you used to support what you wrote, and it looks like its true. Since I’ve read this article I have read a lot on Nike, and its true, they are very unethical!

    This is a great article, and I think a lot more people in this World should read it, because I’m guessing lots of humans don’t know this is happening and they will keep buying from Nike.

    I myself, own Nike Basketball Shoes, and like them a lot… But if I ever buy another pair of basketball shoes, or any other accessories, I know one thing! I will not be buying it from Nike.

    Thank you for bringing awareness about this important subject.

    Great job! 10/10 :)

    Raphael Glacet

  3. Gianpaulo Framcisco Says:

    Why is the writing on this website so inept? Are these articles written as part if a sixth grade school project? I appreciate the message and intent, but it is hard to take the articles seriously when they are so poorly written. Do yourselves a favor and just find one person who has some skill with writing and the English language and allow them to edit these articles. Also, give more facts and specifics concerning each company’s offenses. Keep up the good fight, and make it count more by addressing this problem.

  4. just don’t do it? (340) | Corporate Sustainability Says:

    […] The slogan of Nike „Just do it“ is the reason of my title. Here is one article about the unethical practices of Nike: http://ethicalfootprint.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/nike-just-dont-do-it/ […]


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