The Nike Foundation, formerly the Nike P.L.A.Y. Foundation, is reflection of the Nike Cultures. Nike is committed to assisting youth to achieve both their personal goals as well as to contribute to the overall betterment of our society. The focus of Nike’s resources will be applied to your empowerment, sports, after-school programs, and community and environmental learning to develop skills, build confidence, and to apply critical thinking to solutions to individuals, community and global concerns.
Nike’s mission for corporate responsibility is “to lead in corporate citizenship through programs that reflect caring for the world family of Nike, our teammates, our consumers, and those who provide services to Nike.”
Nike has more that 500 contract factories around the world in about 45 countries. In May 1998, Nike set out six new corporate responsibility goals for these factories. Rather than address the goals and progress across all 500 factories. Yae Kwang Vina, a Korean owned and operated footwear manufacturer in Vietnam. To begin, Tae Kwang Vina is referred to as “VT” by Nike’s contract manufacturing group. VT just celebrated its fourth birthday. It has 10 production assembly lines and 10,000 people, who together produce 500,000 pairs of Nike’s best running shoes each month.
Bowerman once determined that every ounce shaved off a miles shoe was 200 fewer pounds lifted in a race. With that in mind, he began crafting special shoes for his athletes. In 1964, teamed up with former Oregon student and runner, Phil Knight, to form Blue Ribbon Sports, the forerunner of Nike. Bowerman’s innovative designs and Knight’s business acumen were the perfect fit and by the time BRS became Nike in 1972 sales were at $1.96 million.
Nike Inc. has been an industry leader in developing new technologies which we have given away to out competitors. In the early 1990’s, it was becoming evident that governments were becoming more and more regulatory in how footwear was produced and from where it was imported. By 1992, Nike made the environment and worker health and safety a major corporate goal.
Between that time and the present, Nike, in conjunction with its subcontract factories and their suppliers, developed many new technologies such as waterbase adhesives and primers for footwear, waterbase mold releases, detergents for outsole degreasing. mold cleaning and as flushing agents.
Between 1995 and 1999, Nike has reduced its per pair usage of organic solvents from 340 grams/pair to slightly more that 50 grams/pair, an 83% reduction. At the same time, it developed recycling programs for adhesive and primer containers. It has reduced scrap levels of EVA and rubber through internal recycling programs and its reuse-a-shoe program.
In November of 1998, Nike held an open forum in Bangkok, Thailand, for footwear manufacturers on its advances in the area of Green Technology. All of the above technologies were made available to Nike’s competitors along with detailed explanations and a complete question and answer period, it also includes a tour of a Nike factory that has implemented a great many of these advances.
A long history of experimentation and innovations at Nike provides proof positive that producing top-quality athletic footwear is far from simple. The process requires an extensive cast of sports specialists working in close partnerships with athletes and coaches, conducting in-depth research in the world-class Nike Sports Research Lab, studying cutting-edge technology. In short these specialists do everything in their specific performance needs to both professional and amateur athletes. And, since Nike is dedicated to producing the highest quality product possible, not even the smallest detail is overlooked during the design, development and production of each and every Nike shoe.
The only problem is…this entire process takes time and money. Nike might be able to make a cheaper shoe on a quicker timeline, but that would require overlooking the essential details that have made Nike the shoe choice around the world. Athletic footwear which cushions, supports, and protects the wearer, while at the same time providing aesthetic appeal, involves a number of components and countless dedicated players.
The average Nike shoe features 34 parts with approximately 170 workers involved in the making of a single pair of Nike shoes. But that doesn’t even begin to compare to the complexity of the entire process of bringing a Nike shoe to the market. Category Product Teams, consisting of Nike designers, developers, and marketing specialists with expertise in a specific sport category, share the responsibility for everything from initial market research to material selection and marketing of an individual Nike shoe. A process that typically takes between 16 and 18 months.
Nike has been in the news on many occasions. From the whole Y2K deal up to the Nike, Goodby Silverstein and Partners to end advertising relationship. I’ll give a summary of that article.
In a joint issued last week, Nike and advertising agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners announced they are parting ways. As a result, all brand-level advertising in the United States will be handled by Portland Based Wieden & Kennedy, which has been Nike’s primary ad agency for 16 years and created Nike’s famous “Just do it” messaging. “Goodby Silverstein & Partners created excellent work for Nike,” said Rob DeFlorio, director of Nike advertising. The executives at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, while disappointed by the decision, understood Nike’s reasoning and pointed out that the relationship had resulted in several award-winning ads. Goodby Silverstein & Partners is one of America’s leading advertising agencies, with more that $800 million in billings for clients including e*trade, Budweiser, Hewlett Packard, Frito-Lay, Pacific Bell, Pepsi, and many others.
In April 1999, Nike embarked on a far more ambitious independent monitoring program as a charter member of the Global Alliance for Workers and Communities. The Global Alliance, operated by the International Youth Foundation, with partners including the World Bank, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundatio, and Mattel, Inc., will let workers themselves, through local NGOs and other assessment agents, identify workplace issues and life aspirations, which Nike and their factory partners will then work to adress.
Assessment and worker feedback began at factories in Thailand in June, and were scheduled to begin in Vietnam, including at VT, in August, with Indonesia and China to follow. By fall 1999, the Fair Labor Association, the White House sponsored initative to eliminate sweatshop practices in the apparel and foorwear in dustries, was expected to begin oversight of members’ monitoring efforts. It is behind schedule, but progress has been made with many universities, colleges and companies signing on. Nike is a charter member of the FLA. Its monitoring efforts at VT will be shared with the FLA, whose members include consumer rights, human rights and labor rights groups.