Just Shoppers' Guide

NO. 2 April 1996

Sports Shoes

Nike, Adidis, Puma, Hi-Tec, and Reebok all sub-contract the actual manufacturing to suppliers in China, the Phillipines, Thailand, or Indonesia, where wages are low. The following extract, from "When Corporations Rule the World" by David C. Korten, published by Earthscan, 1995, details Nike, which is one of the worst offenders.

An article from Clean Clothes Campaign, a Dutch organisation, is excellent reading on the sports shoe debate.

Another article by CCC on the continuous search by transnationals for cheaper labour in theclothing industry

Eugene Plawiuk writes a piece on recent action against Nike in Canada.

"Nike, a major footwear company, refers to itself as a 'network firm'. This means it employs 8000 people in management, design, sales, and promotion, and leaves production in the hands of some 75,000 workers hired by independent contractors. Most of the out-sourced production takes place in Indonesia, where a pair of Nikes that sells in New Zealand, the US, or Europe for $73 to $135 is produced for about $5.60 by girls and young women paid as little as 15 cents an hour.

Multinational Monitor
Nike in Indonesia Look for the article "Just do it - or else"

For some info on the Indonesian companies involved in shoe production see this short piece from Economic & Business Review Indonesia

On the positive side go to a nike fans' site. You may want to turn images off - the first line is " This background is COOL be patient!"

An amusing? addendum to one Nike advertisement

The workers are housed in company barracks, there are no unions, overtime is often mandatory, and if there is a strike the military can be called in to break it up. The $20 million that basket-ball star Michael Jordan (and Jonah Lomu?) reportedly received in one year, for promoting Nike shoes, exceeded the entire annual payroll of the Indonesian factories that made them.

When asked about the conditions at plants where Nike are produced, John Woodman, Nike's general manager in Indonesia, said he knew there had been labour problems in the six Indonesian factories where Nike shoes are made, but he had no idea what they had been about. Furthermore, he said, "I don't know that I need to know. It's not within our scope to investigate."

Ethical Consumer 39 reports that Christian Aid, from the UK, has recently produced a report on these sports shoe companies. It has drawn up a model "code of conduct" for employment practices of all sub-contractors, which includes clauses on freedom of association and collective bargaining, security of employment, working hours, and child labour. C.A. is asking the big companies to take responsibility for the social and employment conditions under which the shoes are made. Reebok's code comes closest to the Christian Aid model but does not go far enough.

An image sent by a reader
Christian Aid Information
"The Globe Trotting Sports Shoe"
"Gazza and Linford run rings around Third World Workers"

Nike rave about their global diversity of employees, and their interest in employee fulfillment - "The Nike family"

ACTION. Christian Aid is asking consumers to write to
Stephen Rubin
President; World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry
C/O The Pentland Group, Squires Lane
London, N3 2Ql
urging WFSGI members to adopt an independent code of practice for subcontractors that guarantees minimum rights and wages, and is independently monitored. 1996 may be the big year sports shoe companies bite the bullet!

Shopper's Guide No. 1 - the Nestle Boycott.

General ideas on ethical shopping, some of the
decisions required when trying to shop ethically
can be found on the next page.

Just Shoppers' Guide is a guide to
ethical shopping. For further information contact:

Pat Scott
55 Riccarton Road

The electronic version of Shoppers Guide has been taken directly from the paper version, with the permission of Pat Scott. For further information on the electronic version contact Stuart Sontier