By: Jenna DeWalt
It’s easy to think about factory workers and retailers here in the US, but often we forget about the people that transport NIKE products back to the States. The question here is: has NIKE overlooked how they treat their transportation workers? Is there even any research on the social impacts of trade and transport of Nike products, specifically Nike baseball cleats?
Let’s be real. Nike does a great job of hiding the details, but a terrible job of being 100% transparent. They are a large business that needs to maintain a face that seems to be doing good, highlighting the areas of improvement that they are working toward, but not providing easy access to information for their customers to see the full truth. While that can create an extreme frustration for an honest researcher wanting to pull out what the truth is, we still cannot ignore the fact that Nike has improved a lot and they are doing good, even if they aren’t fully transparent yet.
Economic systems and social systems can sometimes be closely related, and for Nike it’s almost one and the same. They are making serious headway in decreasing their carbonfootprint both with the shipment of products and with business travel. Nike uses air, freight, and cargo ships for transportation, and research on the social impacts of the people employed is none that I can find. But, research on economical impacts is great. And Nike recognizes these economical impacts, has set goals, and is striving to constantly streamline their production—shipping—consumption methods to ensure that they are operating in the most green-efficient manner.
Anexcerpt from Nike states: “Finished-goods footwear manufacturing is our largest measured source of GHG emissions. In FY08, we launched the Nike Energy and Carbon Program with contract footwear manufacturers to help reduce these emissions. In FY10, we expanded the program to include apparel and equipment manufacturing, and in FY11 we further expanded it to include select material vendors. Based on lean-systems thinking, this program trains, consults with and coaches our manufacturing partners in strategies for making short- and long-term energy and carbon-efficiency gains.”
This is pretty cool. Nike is reflecting on their impact on society as a whole. And actively seeking to engage processes that is not necessarily their responsibility as a business but their responsibility as humans to be respecting this earth. If Nike has these kinds of people working for them, I have no doubt that they are honestly trying to be the best company they can be.