NEW AIR FOR NIKE? COMPANY DRAWS PRAISE FOR IMPROVING PLANTS
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).