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NEW AIR FOR NIKE? COMPANY DRAWS PRAISE FOR IMPROVING PLANTS
Published March 12, 1999
Univ. of CA environmental researcher Dara O'Rourke "applauded" Nike for "improving ventilation" at a company- contracted plant in Vietnam, 18 months after he disclosed that the "air in parts of" the plant had "levels of cancer- causing substances that exceeded local standards by 177 times," according to Steven Greenhouse of the N.Y. TIMES. O'Rouke also credited Nike with reducing the "use of hazardous chemicals and training managers on safety issues" at the plant. O'Rourke "praised Nike for a turnaround," but said that "some significant problems remained." Nike Dir of Labor Relations Dusty Kid said that the factory was "an average factory, not a model one," and that Nike "would allow" O'Rourke to visit "any of its" 37 factories in Asia. Human rights group Global Exchange, one of Nike's "harshest and most persistent critics," also credited the company yesterday for "improving conditions and for letting an outside monitor inspect" the plant (N.Y. TIMES, 3/12). KNIGHT MOVES: Nike Chair Phil Knight said that the company "will disclose the location of all its foreign factories if competitors agree to do the same thing." Knight sent letters to presidents of universities with Nike contracts, "calling on them to join the effort to 'ensure that licensed products bearing the names and logos of schools are manufactured under fair conditions'" (AP, 3/12).