NikeCorporation and its Past Ethical Behavior
NikeCompany was established in 1972 by Phil Knight, a former track starad the company is in many ways the archetypical global company. Thecompany is one the leading marketers of athletics apparel and shoesin the whole globe, with an average yearly revenue of $10 billion(Charlse, 2010). Currently, the Company has sold its products to morethan 140 countries around the globe. Most notably, Nike Company doesnot engage in the manufacture of apparel or shoes, but rather itdesigns and markets its products to other manufacturing companiesaround the world, that are owned by subcontractors. These factorieshave employed more than 550,000 people, and the enormous corporationhas made Phil Knight very wealthy (Charlse, 2010).
Evenwith the immense success Nike has been mired for more than one decadeby persistent and repeated allegations that its products aremanufactured in sweatshops, where poor workers, majority of whom areyoung children, slave away in perilous working conditions (Charlse,2010). Wages for these poor workers have been below subsistencelevel, and it, therefore, appears that the company’s wealth hasbeen generated on the backs of poor people in different parts of theworld (Charlse, 2010). Detractors have accused the company as beingas a symbol of evil of globalization, a situation where a prosperousblue chip company from the developed nation has continually exploitedthe world’s poor to make exclusive apparel and shoes to thepampered consumers. The use of sweatshop and the exploitation of poorworkers in developing nation such as Vietnam has raised very criticalquestions about the company’s ethical and social justice. Ernst andYoung audit revealed that workers in Vietnam firms owned bysubcontractors were laboring for more than 10 hours a day, indeplorable working conditions for slightly more than $40 a month. Thereport also revealed that workers experienced breathing problems andskin diseases because of working in excessive heat, foul air andintense noise (Charlse, 2010).
Solutionto Ethical Challenges
Tosolve the ethical conundrum, Nike established a code of conduct toguide all the subcontractors around the globe and instituted yearlyexamination by an impartial auditor for all subcontractors. Its codeof conduct called upon all workers at factories to be above 18 yearsand exposure to hazardous chemicals not to surpass the permissibleexposure limits set up by the Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration for workers in U.S.A. (Charlse, 2010). I think thecompany should ensure that all workers in all factories are paid atleast the minimum wage and are accorded the right working environmentlike their counterparts in developed nations. The companysubcontractors and Phil Knight have no moral authority to continueengaging in unethical activities while they are making colossal sumsin profit. It is barbaric and antics that have been passed by time.There should be a penalty for violation human rights and code ofconducts.
Charlse,W.I.(2010).Ethicin International Business. McGraw–Hill Inc. NewYork.