After three years of silence following a 2002 lawsuit over its claims on labor practices, Nike has returned to social reporting in a big way, releasing a corporate responsibility report that is, from all indications, a genuine leap forward in corporate transparency.
As well as providing detail on its supply chain practices, the report covers areas such as workforce diversity, the environment, community programs and socially responsible investment. An independent review committee of individuals from trade unions, non-governmental organizations, academia and the business community was brought together to strengthen the credibility of the information in the report.
Among the more surprising details is the fact that Nike is now publishing a full list of its suppliers on its website. The list shows that problems remain, but the move toward transparency by such a massive industry player is sure to have positive ripple effects.
"We felt the risks of any future lawsuit were far outweighed by benefits of transparency," says Hannah Jones, Nike’s vice-president of corporate responsibility. "Because if we’ve learned anything as a company, it’s that closing down and not talking about the challenges and opportunities doesn’t get you far."