03/28/2008 02:44 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Activists Doubt Nike's Commitment To Social Responsibility

Nike says that its corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign is no longer just "a risk and reputation management tool," but a core "business objective." Labor rights activist Jeff Ballinger is skeptical. "In the 15-year battle over labor conditions for the 800,000 factory employees -- primarily Asian women younger than 24 -- who have helped turn Nike into a $14.9 billion company, Ballinger argues the activists won Round 1 and Nike staged a comeback in Round 2. The company's Code of Conduct was skimpy, its monitoring of factory conditions ineffective, but the attendant PR campaign was brilliant," reports The Oregonian. Now, Nike "is finally conceding monitoring hasn't worked," but claims "it needs more time." Nike wants until 2011 to eliminate excessive overtime. Ballinger points out that "Indonesian newspapers were writing about it [the overtime problem] in 1988." Nike spends $150 million on CSR, when simply "paying another 75 cents for each pair of shoes -- a yearly outlay of $220 million -- would solve the wage problem."

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