The Ethics of Nike’s use of Sweatshop Labor Essay Sample

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Nike is one of the most well-known sportswear brands in the world, with a reputation for producing high-quality athletic shoes and apparel. However, the company has been the subject of controversy due to its use of sweatshop labor in its factories around the world. In this paper, we will explore the ethics of Nike’s use of sweatshop labor and examine the impact that it has had on the company’s reputation.

Section 1: The Scandal

Nike’s use of sweatshop labor was first exposed in the mid-1990s when reports emerged that workers in its factories in Asia were being paid extremely low wages, working in unsafe conditions, and subjected to physical and emotional abuse. This led to a public outcry and a boycott of Nike products by many consumers.

The scandal had a significant impact on Nike’s reputation and sales, and the company was forced to take action to address the issue. Nike implemented a code of conduct for its suppliers and began monitoring their factories more closely. It also increased transparency by publishing a list of its suppliers and their factories.

Section 2: The Ethics

The use of sweatshop labor is widely considered to be unethical, as it involves exploiting workers by paying them extremely low wages and subjecting them to unsafe working conditions. Nike’s use of sweatshop labor was a clear violation of the company’s own ethical standards and the standards of many consumers and advocacy groups.

However, it is worth noting that Nike is not the only company that has been accused of using sweatshop labor. Many other well-known brands, including Adidas and Puma, have also been accused of similar practices. This highlights the broader issue of labor exploitation in the global supply chain and the challenges of ensuring ethical manufacturing practices.

Section 3: The Impact

The impact of Nike’s use of sweatshop labor has been significant. The scandal damaged the company’s reputation and led to a decline in sales. However, Nike’s response to the scandal also helped to improve its reputation and restore consumer confidence.

Today, Nike is committed to ensuring that its suppliers meet its ethical standards and has implemented a range of measures to monitor and improve working conditions in its factories. The company has also made significant investments in sustainability and social responsibility, including a commitment to using more sustainable materials and reducing its carbon footprint.


The use of sweatshop labor is a complex ethical issue that continues to be a challenge for companies operating in the global supply chain. While Nike’s use of sweatshop labor in the past was clearly unethical, the company has taken steps to address the issue and improve its practices. Today, Nike is committed to ensuring that its products are made in a way that is ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible.

Works Cited

[1] StudySmarter. (n.d.). Nike Sweatshop Scandal. Retrieved from

[2] Auburn University. (n.d.). Nike: Managing Ethical Missteps—Sweatshops to Leadership in Employment Practices. Retrieved from

[3] Good On You. (n.d.). How Ethical Is Nike? Retrieved from

[4] New Idea. (n.d.). Nike sweatshops: inside the scandal. Retrieved from

[5] Wikipedia. (n.d.). Nike sweatshops. Retrieved from

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