Saturday, December 23, 2006

NIKE = Scrooge

Is it FIFA Approved?

In a Yahoo News article entitled "Nike's dilemma: Is doing the right thing wrong?" the question is being posed, is it better that Nike continues with its practice of hiring contractors like Saga that use child labor, or do they drop those contracts and leave huge unemployment behind.

Saga opened in 1996 with a pledge to prohibit child labor, a common practice in Pakistan. Saga was among several Sialkot-based sporting goods manufacturers that in 1997 signed an agreement with the U.N. International Labor Organization and world football's governing body, FIFA, to phase out children working in soccer-ball stitching centers.

FIFA's commitment to social responsibility
has come to the fore as part of its Quality Concept. Licensees are contractually obliged to ensure that no child labour is used in any stage of the manufacturing process and they have to pledge to comply with the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights At Work Adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Code of Conduct of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI).

So after ten years of telling people that they don't utilize child labor, and blaming the contract factories for the child labor that does occur, the Nike boycott looks like it's finally working. It looks like they are seeing the demand for non FIFA approved soccer balls drop and had to close a plant as a result. Rather than looking where to save another quarter in the price of making the $140 soccer balls, perhaps Nike should be looking at what the market really wants - an end to child labor and FIFA approved soccer balls. Nike - just do it - quit using child labor.

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