Update Concerning Nike and Factory Access
August 30, 2017
I am pleased to be able to report that the WRC and Nike, through discussions facilitated by Georgetown University, have reached agreement on a protocol for WRC investigations of Nike suppliers. Under this new protocol, Nike agrees to facilitate access for the WRC to its collegiate supplier factories.
Nike commits to use all economic leverage at its disposal to ensure each factory’s cooperation, so that the WRC will have access to the factory, its personnel, and its records – both for initial inspection and for follow-up visits to assess progress on labor rights remediation. The access provisions of this new protocol are more detailed than those currently included in standard university licensing agreements.
Along with these and related commitments by Nike, the protocol memorializes important aspects of the WRC’s current procedures for engaging with licensees and factories in our assessment and remediation work – for example, providing notice of findings to the licensee prior to publication and providing advance notice for most factory requests. These commitments are consistent with the WRC’s principles and practices and are coupled with language ensuring that the WRC will continue to have the ability to conduct investigations – and report findings to workers, our affiliate universities, and the public – in the manner and time-frame that provides the best protection for the rights of workers in each given case.
The protocol has been incorporated into a new licensing agreement between Georgetown and Nike. Georgetown informs us that this licensing agreement requires compliance with IMG College Licensing’s Labor Code Standards. It identifies the WRC as Georgetown’s chosen factory monitor. We congratulate Georgetown and Nike on this new agreement.
We believe the protocol is a very positive resolution to the factory access issue. It ensures that the WRC will be able to effectively conduct factory investigations, and seek remedial measures when needed, at any Nike supplier factory that makes goods bearing the names of universities and colleges affiliated with the WRC.
We recognize that the value of the protocol, and of WRC investigations and remediation efforts in general, ultimately derives from the labor rights requirements created by each university and memorialized in its licensing contracts. We will be available, as always, to advise universities, when requested, on the implications of labor rights language they are considering for inclusion in their licensing agreements with Nike and other licensees.
We want to thank Georgetown University for the leadership it has provided in achieving a positive resolution to the access issue and for its long-standing support for the WRC’s work. We also recognize the efforts and engagement of many other universities and colleges on this issue and we thank you for these efforts and for your continued commitments to advancing the rights of the workers who make university logo products. We appreciate the constructive approach taken by Nike in the discussions to develop the protocol and look forward to productive engagement between Nike and the WRC in the months and years ahead.
As always, if you have any questions about the protocol or related issues, please let us know.
Worker Rights Consortium