Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the "economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organisations at a given point in time" (Carroll and Buchholtz 2003, p. 36). The concept of corporate social responsibility means that organizations have moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities in addition to their responsibilities to earn a fair return for investors and comply with the law. A traditional view of the corporation suggests that its primary, if not sole, responsibility is to its owners, or stockholders. However, CSR requires organisations to adopt a broader view of its responsibilities that includes not only stockholders, but many other constituencies as well, including employees, suppliers, customers, the local community, local, state, and the government, environmental groups, and other special interest groups. Collectively, the various groups affected by the actions of an organisation are called "stakeholders."
Nike started with a handshake between two visionary Oregonians - Bowerman and his University of Oregon runner Phil Knight. Themselves and the people they hired evolved and grew the company that became Nike from a US based footwear distributor to a global marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment that is unrivalled in the world. Along the way, Nike has established a strong Brand Portfolio with several subsidiaries including Cole Haan, Converse Inc., Hurley International LLC, Nike Golf, and Umbro Ltd. Their world headquarters is located near Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. So while the Pacific Northwest is the birthplace to Nike, today they operate in more than 160 countries around the globe. Through their suppliers, shippers, retailers and other service providers, they directly or indirectly employ nearly one million people. That includes more than 30,000 Nike employees across six continents, each of whom makes their own contribution to fulfil the mission statement, “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
I have chosen Nike, from the sporting goods industry, as my company to evaluate their level of corporate social responsibility, strategies and policies. My reason for this is that Nike has shown a huge change in the business ethics and corporate social responsibility over the last decade or so. From the beginning, Nike has used celebrity athletes to promote its products, and its advertising budget in 2002 ran over $900 million. Despite vast sales, Nike owns very few manufacturing facilities and describes itself as a marketing operation. Most of the shoes and apparel are contracted out to companies in the United States and abroad. The three main operations in America act as distribution centers. Nike came in for criticism when reports surfaced about sweatshop working conditions in factories overseas. Employees were said to be overworked, underpaid, abused and denied the right to organise. Nike’s initial response to these allegations was to say that it was not responsible for the actions of its subcontractors. Since the boycott movement in the 1990’s, Nike has taken positive steps to raise the standards of employment used by its sub contractors. An example of how they did this was by banning petroleum based glues and inviting independent monitors to visit the facilities.
In 2007 Nike pledged to cut back on the level of overtime undertaken by workers at its factories, in an attempt to improve working conditions of up to 880,000 workers. This is a serious area of concern for Nike, which operates 130 factories in China, where many workers have been expected to work unpaid. They have also pledged new targets for reducing waste and carbon emissions. This is just a couple of measures Nike have practised and I will discuss a variety more throughout my essay. Their goal is to carry on his legacy of innovative thinking, whether to develop products that help athletes of every level of ability reach...
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