Nike makes New Environmental Commitment
The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) announced today that Nike has endorsed the Ceres Principles, a ten-point code of environmental conduct that encourages companies to commit to continual improvement in their environmental performance.
The Ceres Principles, embraced by more than 50 companies including American Airlines, Coca-Cola USA, General Motors, Polaroid, and Sunoco, represent a voluntary commitment to continual environmental improvement that goes beyond the performance required by government regulations. The Ceres Principles address issues such as informing the public, reducing risk, restoring the environment, and manufacturing safe products and services.
"Nike's endorsement of the Ceres Principles signifies that the firm has taken a major step forward in its efforts to achieve sustainability throughout its environmental and labor practices," said Joan Bavaria, Ceres Board Chair and President of Trillium Asset Management. "Ceres and Nike have realized that the way to move ahead is in a transparent and collaborative manner with both organizations committed to exploring the areas where Nike can improve its performance and citizenship as a multinational corporation. This results-oriented partnership offers Ceres and its members a new opportunity for engagement and dialogue with Nike, and presents Nike with an even broader array of experts and stakeholder perspectives with whom they may consult."
In addition to committing to the Principles, corporate Ceres Endorsers must submit annual reports and regularly engage in dialogue with special interest groups and individuals that are concerned about Nike's performance
Nike's decision to endorse the Ceres Principles is the result of nearly two years of intensive dialogue and fact-finding between the company and members of the Ceres Coalition. The endorsement process, led by Ceres, involves participating in extensive meetings with Nike's top management and members of the Ceres Coalition. Ceres member organizations represented in the dialogue included the World Wildlife Fund, the Fair Trade Foundation, the New York City Comptroller's Office, and the AFL-CIO.
"The endorsement of the Ceres Principles and the processes that will come with that step are, for Nike, an opportunity to engage important stakeholders in a broad and highly credible forum," said Dusty Kidd, Nike's Vice President of Corporate Responsibility. "We hope that through this engagement with Ceres, we can advance our work in environmental and social issues."
In the endorsement process, the dialogues are deemed complete when the firm accepts the conditions of endorsing the Principles and when the Ceres Board of Directors ultimately ratifies the firm's decision. Ceres' acceptance of the endorsement is not a 'seal of approval,' but a recognition that the firm has committed to making a good faith effort to continually improve its environmental performance and responsiveness to stakeholder concerns.
"We believe that Nike is making a conscientious attempt to improve its environmental and social performance, and we hope this commitment represents a trend toward improved environmental and labor conditions in the apparel industry," stated Ceres Executive Director Robert Kinloch Massie. "This announcement signifies a tremendous opportunity for environmental and social advocacy organizations to positively engage with one of the highest profile companies in the world on the issue of global responsibility."
A coalition of investors, public pension trustees, foundations, and environmental, labor, and public interest groups, Ceres encourages companies to endorse and practice the Ceres Principles in an effort to catalyze meaningful progress toward a more ecologically sustainable economy. The list of Ceres Coalition Members includes over 60 groups such as the National Resources Defense Council, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Collectively, the Ceres Coalition represents almost $300 billion in invested assets.
Ceres welcomes the perspectives and participation of its member organizations, other public interest groups, and the public as it moves forward into an innovative and rigorous relationship with the Nike Corporation.