Nike is willing to identify the locations of all its foreign factories and to allow independent inspectors to monitor them on one condition — that Nike’s competitors agree to do the same.
In response to protests sponsored by students across the nation, Nike chair Phil Knight has contacted many universities which hold major Nike contracts. Knight informed the schools about Nike’s recent offer to open their foreign factories to inspectors and also urged the schools to take steps to “ensure that licensed products bearing the names and logos of schools are manufactured under fair conditions.” Students of at least six universities including Brown, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, and Wisconsin have convinced school officials that licensees who do business with the schools must disclose the location of their factories.
Global Exchange, a San-Francisco-based labor rights organization, announced that it was pleased with Nike’s decision and with the student actions. Spokesperson Medea Benjamin commented, “I think we’ll see many universities add this to their codes of conduct or their license agreements in the coming months.”
Nike also announced that it plans to join the Fair Labor Association — a network of industry, labor, consumer and human rights groups created on the behest of the Clinton Administration.