There are hundreds of name brands that millions around the world use to represent who they are as a person and their personality. Typically name brands have celebrities, athletes, and models broadcast the clothes by wearing them and making commercials so the people behind the screens can look exactly like the people wearing them first. There are companies like Nike that are known to mainly be a sports name-brand company and is loved and worn by millions. Unfortunately, many do not know what exactly happens behind the scenes where the clothes, shoes, and accessories are being made.
As a company, Nike is extremely profitable; it is the biggest shoe company and has become the fourth biggest industry leader. Nike can easily afford to increase wages of people that do labor work for the company without even the slightest loss but unfortunately chooses not to. According to the SEC, “In 2007, Nike’s advertising budget was $678 million. Realistically, Nike could pay all its individual workers enough to feed and clothe themselves and their families if it would just devote 1% of its advertising budget to workers' salaries each year!” (A background on…) In Nike’s Code of conduct, they state that in the area of human rights and in the communities in which they do their business, they want to do everything required of them as well as what is generally expected of a leader and thus by magnifying on the wrongs an industry leader commits, changes in the entire industry is expected.
The highly recognized name brand—Nike— fails to notice the faults that are happening in factories that are violating a few disturbing rules. The company’s reputation has decreased due to demands and claims Nike; implying that they utilize sweatshops to produce more products at a lower pay. The company has been sued numerous times for abusing and exploiting their employees in factories for years. Another problem that Nike has faced throughout the years was making employees work in poor environments that affected the health of many— which contributed to being abused by the manager for not going to work. Nike distributes and sells merchandise of high quality for a high value. The company is giving the satisfaction of quality service to their
Nike is one of the world’s largest producers, marketers, and sellers of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories. The company manufactures Nike products in 142 factories across 15 countries. Most of its product is manufactured in foreign nations, including Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, followed by Argentina, India, Brazil, and Mexico (Nike, 2016). In 1991, activist Jeff Balling raised national concern over Nike’s business practices in Indonesia. In a Harper’s Bazaar expose in 1992, Balling called out Nike for using an Indonesian subcontractor who paid workers 14 cents an hour, while working in dismal factory conditions. The report created a near-immediate backlash against Nike, which continued until 1998, when Nike CEO,
With Nike rapidly growing, in the 1990s reports began to surface of Nike sweatshops. In 1996; in a United States (U.S.) magazine, an image appeared of a young Pakistani boy sewing together a Nike football that shunned Nike (Wazir). Likewise, the next year another report surfaced that reported that workers in Nike factories in Vietnam were exposed to fumes 177 times over the legal limit allowed in Vietnam (Wazir). Feeling the pressure to act due to low demands (Nisen), Nike’s co-founder and chairman Phil Knight pledged to overhaul these conditions; nevertheless, three years later Nike came under scrutiny again for their abuse and exploitation of employees (Wazir). Even with the unrelenting criticism towards Nike (Nisen), the impact of these reports upon Nike’s success has been little, as Nike has continued their dominance over its competition (Lutz).
Nike began as Phil Knight’s semester-long project to develop a small business, which included a marketing plan. This project was part of Phil Knight’s MBA course at Stanford University in the early 1960s. Phil Knight had been a runner at the University of Oregon in the late 1950s. His idea for his project was to develop high quality running shoes. He thought that high quality/low cost products could be produced in Japan and then shipped to the United States to be sold at a profit. His professor thought that Knight’s idea was interesting, but not much more than a project.
In many ways, it seems obvious to me that Nike should be held responsible for working conditions in foreign companies where products for Nike are made. In my opinion a company is not only responsible for itsʼ own employees but also for the employees that produce for them even though theyʼre not in their own company. I think that every part of the supply chain is partially responsible for the entire supply chain. As Nike is the
Nike’s CEO’s and management made a decision to begin using sweatshop labor in order to save money and begin aggressive marketing. They used this aggressive marketing to have a one up on their competitors, in fact, Nike spent 280 million dollars alone on advertising in 1994 (Schwartz, 2000). Nike would give great athletes million dollar contracts to endorse and wear their clothing. For an example, Andre Agassi received 70 million dollars to endorse Nike's tennis clothing line. The choice to start aggressive marketing is the reason why Nike entered into this crisis and started making unethical decisions. Once the top management of Nike realized the profitability and popularity of hiring professional athletes to wear and endorse their clothes, regular advertising would not suffice. The company became greedy and were willing to use cheap abusive labor so that they could pay professional athletes millions of dollars (Schwartz, 2000).
According to the “Sweatshop Fact Sheet,” Tiger Woods is paid over fifty five thousand dollars a day to be their spokesman. Another famous person that is a spokesman for Nike is Michael Jordan. According to the article “Running Away With the Profits,” (Environmental Action, Academic Search Elite), Michael Jordan is paid twenty million dollars in endorsement fees. Big name sport teams advertise Nike to appeal to the common person.
During the late 80s and early 90s Nike was faced with a series of labor strike back at home due to unethical labor practices by its independent countries in third world countries. It is well known for Nike to outsource almost all its production from third world countries at cheap prices and sell them in U.S. market at an abnormal profit. The company began outsourcing its products from Japan where labor was competent and wages were very low. The living standards were raised which prompted Nike to outsource its products from Thailand, Pakistan and Indonesia since wages in these countries were extremely low and labor for these products were competent due to rapid development of the Japanese economy. The outsourcing of footwear products from Asian countries enables Nike to earn high profits and enjoy a competitive advantage over its rivals in the footwear industry. The company invests the high profits realized in marketing its products through celebrities. For instance, Michael Jordan was used to advertise the positive image of Nike Company (Lipschutz and James, pp. 87-96).
They should be responsible for the legal, social and philanthropic aspects of its subcontracted factories. They are not paying their employees the legal minimum wage, caring about the working conditions and welfare of these employees and just not taking into consideration the well-being of others. Ten years ago, the company had been subjected to negative press, lawsuits, and demonstrations on college campuses alleging that the firm’s overseas contractors’ subject employees to work in inhumane conditions for low wages. With the introduction of the fair labour association and worker rights consortium, Nike is slowly trying to improve the working conditions on subcontracted factories and hopefully in 10 years, they would be able to re-establish themselves as a morally acceptable company.
Time and time again, there are stories of dishonest companies who take advantage of the fact that they have money, try to create more wealth and subsequently forget their workers well being. Although they have more then enough money, greed takes over and good morals are overlooked. Nike, a popular sports brand, makes billions of dollars a year selling various products. To manufacture them, Nike has created many sweatshops throughout the world. Although they can definitely afford to pay their workers fairly, it has been found that these workers,
Legally the company has done no wrong doing, and the types of environments that these sweatshops are located in are normal within the countries cultures. The main issue in this case is the ethical responsibility of Nike to ensure that the workers work in humane work environments, and are paid wages that they are able to survive on (Vann, n.d.).
The treatment of workers is a growing issue and it’s going to keep on growing and growing if people don’t realize what these big companies are doing and put a stop to it. For example the shoe company Nike employs many people but the thing people don’t know is that there are 12,000 young women in Indonesia making the lowest amount of money and working long tiring shifts. Every $80 sneaker Nike makes it only costs them 12 cents for the labor. This shows the unfair treatment of these workers and how the company is taking advantage of them and it is not only Nike doing this but any major company uses the same force of labor. In “Who Makes the Clothes We Wear?” it says “Government officials raided a sweatshop filled with immigrant Thai women laboring as little as 59 cents per hour.”Also not only were they being taken advantage of the discipline was enforced by threats of rape and beatings.(26) This goes to show the little care they have for these workers and the actions that are being taken against them. It also shows a dark side to these companies in which the workers are being treated worst than dogs.
Although Nike may be technically removed from responsibility in some areas, it clearly has the obligation to be certain that exploitation by subcontractors do not occur. Certainly the pay and working conditions that the workers of subcontractors receive is due in large part to the contract that has been negotiated by Nike. If Nike had chosen to make improved working conditions a part of the arrangement, them those benefits may have been passed on to the workers. Still, Nike is a publicly owned firm whose goal is to improve the wealth of its shareholders. The workers in these Asian countries were happy, even eager, to accept the conditions that were provided as a manufacturer of Nike. The reason is that those wages were probably equal or superior to wages available from other sources. If Nike were to leave the country because of the pressures placed upon it, the workers would undoubtedly suffer greatly.