4
Jun

Crisis = Challenge & Opportunity

Written on June 4, 2007 by Max Oliva in Corporate Responsibility

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Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
It’s interesting to see how Nike has radically evolved from being “an unethical company” which was “compliant” with child labour throughout its supply chain, representing a huge reputational crisis, into a company which has fully integrated corporate responsibility throughout their business strategy.
They’ve just released their 2006 CR Report, which includes a series of ambitious and well aligned business targets for 2011 related to improvements in labour conditions of their contract factories, becoming a climate neutral company, embedding sustainable product design and innovation, and, it couldn’t be less, increasing youth’s access to the benefits of sport.
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“We see corporate responsibility as a catalyst for growth and innovation… …It is an integral part of how we can use the power of our brand, the energy and passion of our people, and the scale of our business to create meaningful change.” Mark Parker, Nike President and CEO
Simon Zadek from AccountAbility, has written an HBR article on Nike’s path to corporate responsibility. He contends that they’ve gone through a five stage process which goes from “defensive (“It’s not our fault”) to compliant (“We’ll do only what we have to”) to managerial (“It’s the business”) to strategic (“It gives us a competitive edge”) and, finally, to civil (“We need to make sure everybody does it”)”.
Is this a commitment to corporate responsibility or pure PR? To me this is a clear example of a great turnaround, of how a challenge can be turned into an opportunity, and on how being responsible is not only the right thing to do, but how it is core to the long term performance and viability of a company.
Download their entire report and judge for yourselves.

Comments

Menka June 13, 2007 - 3:13 am

Thanks for the post Max. It has been a pretty speedy evolution for Nike, from being driven to comply by regulators to being driven by ‘innovation for a better world’. I like Zadek’s analysis of Nike, though stage five does sound a little idealistic!? You might also be interested in another report, written by the consultancy SustainAbility, in which they introduce the term ‘Mindset 3.0’ to refer to the shift in CSR approch: http://www.whatsbubbling.com/2007/03/28/about-mindset-30/

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