Engagement & Reviews
Our stakeholders help us to prioritize key issues and develop our corporate responsibility policies. We engage with stakeholders because we learned early on in our corporate responsibility journey the importance of engaging and listening. We see engagement with multiple stakeholders as a key enabler of both risk mitigation and innovation.
Nike engages with a broad range of stakeholders on an ongoing basis, including individuals in civil society organizations, industry and government, as well as consumers and shareholders. We do this informally, through participation and/or membership in networks and organizations and as a structured part of our outreach strategies on issues and challenges. We also do this through formal partnership work covered by area throughout this report.
We believe that developing and refining the skill of listening is critical to a company’s success. This has been true for Nike’s history of listening to and innovating for athletes to deliver performance products, and it is how we approach our corporate responsibility efforts.
The various sections of our reporting discuss specific stakeholder-engagement activities; additional details can be found on our website.
Feedback on Reporting
Nike first held a formal multi-stakeholder forum for feedback on reporting in February 2004. We have continued that type of engagement through a number of meetings – some informal and casual, some formal and facilitated. For subsequent reports, we established panels of experts who provided feedback on early drafts and discussed issues such as materiality, completeness, relevance, tone, performance and the future of our reporting, among other topics.
Stakeholder Review Panel
Nike engaged BSR to facilitate feedback for Nike’s FY10/11 Sustainable Business Report. The purpose of this process was to provide Nike unfiltered, expert input on issues, targets and information to improve the quality and enhance the credibility of the report. BSR played the role of a neutral facilitator in this process. BSR is a mission-driven, membership-based organization that advises its 300 member companies on sustainability issues and practices. In this capacity, BSR jointly selected stakeholders with Nike, coordinated the overall process, led stakeholder discussions and virtual feedback sessions, and consolidated feedback to provide back to Nike. Nike’s SB&I team managed the overall reporting process, and actively participated throughout the stakeholder engagement as an information provider and listener.
Nike and BSR jointly created a list of relevant stakeholders who possessed a range of the following attributes:
- Understanding of the apparel and footwear business
- New and unique perspectives
- Expertise and reputation in sustainability strategy and/or issue areas ranging from water to energy to labor to toxics
- Geographic/nationality, gender and issue diversity
Ultimately, 18 stakeholders were identified and invited to participate in the process and 16 were able to participate in stakeholder feedback conversations and virtual meetings:
- Charles Bezerra, Ph.D., Executive Director of Gad’Innovation/Brazil
- Garrett Brown, M.P.H., C.I.H., Coordinator, Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network
- Anne Gillespie, Director of Industry Integrity, Textile Exchange
- Peter Graf, Ph.D., Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Vice President of Sustainability Solutions, SAP
- Ma Jun, Director, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs
- Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group
- Corinna Kester, MBA Student, University of California, Berkeley
- Richard Locke, Head, Department of Political Science, Class of 1922 Professor of Political Science and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Helio Mattar, President Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Andrea Moffat, Vice President, Corporate Programs, Ceres
- Jason Morrison*, Program Director, Pacific Institute; Technical Director, UN CEO Water Mandate; Co-Founder, Alliance for Water Stewardship
- Max Ogden, Fellow, Code for America
- George Serafeim, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
- Joel Tickner, Sc.D., Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
- Ned Wills, Global Director, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
- Diana Zarowin, Sophomore, New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Candidate for Bachelor of Science
*Participated as an individual, not in an official organizational capacity
The participation of listed stakeholders and organizations is not an indication of support, recommendation, or endorsement of any information, persons, or organizations in the report.
BSR sought individuals to participate in a process to provide the most valuable and informative input into Nike’s sustainability reporting process. The intent was to bring together a virtual conversation with subject-matter experts who can respond to expectations around reporting, particularly on reporting formats and the future of reporting, impact progress, materials and manufacturing, etc.
In order to assure diversity of voices while reducing GHG emissions, the stakeholder-engagement process was conducted virtually. After Nike disseminated a draft of the FY10/11 Sustainable Business Report through BSR and the selected experts had a chance to review its contents, BSR conducted an in-depth, one-hour telephone interview with each stakeholder separately. Nike team members listened to these sessions and provided clarifying input. These individual conversations ensured that each stakeholder was afforded an equal amount of time to provide their expertise and insight both to share their thoughts on the overall report strengths and opportunities for improvement as well as to hone in on specific content areas of interest.
BSR then consolidated that feedback, synthesized it into themes and issue areas, and presented it to the stakeholders during two virtual participant feedback sessions that BSR organized, managed and facilitated. These virtual sessions allowed for global participation and for the stakeholder experts to build on prior feedback. This feedback was also consolidated and provided back to the Nike team.
The Nike team addressed it in one of the following three ways:
- Revamped sections of this report summary and/or the printed report
- Made language and tone changes to better clarify particular report sections, and/or
- Flagged some stakeholder input for future considerations in Nike’s SB&I strategy and/or future reports
Subsequently, Nike also provided their targets to the stakeholders and BSR conducted three virtual feedback sessions to seek ways to clarify, amplify and expand on the targets. This feedback was provided back to Nike in a presentation that covered the targets issue by issue.
Impact on Report Outcome
There was high value to Nike in engaging stakeholders in the reporting process – it provided Nike’s leadership with direct insights and perspective from external experts. The Nike team made many substantive changes to the report based on this feedback in the areas of reporting structure, content and design; data, metrics and dashboards; and environmental and social issues. Their feedback and Nike’s response is available online.
Nike sincerely appreciated the deep expertise and extensive input of the stakeholders to materially improve this report and to identify opportunities to improve future reporting procedures and results. The net result of constructively engaging actively critical stakeholders has resulted in, in Nike’s opinion, a stronger and more credible report.
Assurance & Validity of Data
Nike continues to seek quality and transparency in our management and reporting. As we do this, we have explored additional ways to provide confidence in our processes and our reported data.
Various data points are confirmed internally through staff and systems that have been established to collect and review that data. For instance, we have moved to primary-source information on energy use across the U.S. from verified metered data that come directly from utility billing systems. Other data and information are confirmed externally through third parties such as the Fair Labor Association.
Following our FY05-06 and FY07-09 reports, Nike’s internal audit team was asked to assess our sustainability reporting processes. Their audit report noted a number of opportunities for improvement and investment, including better documentation of information, internal checks at multiple levels, review of forward-looking public commitments, documentation of systems and controls and improved interactions with key internal audiences including Corporate Communications, Investor Relations and Legal. The SB&I team felt, after focusing our reporting on key impacts and business targets, that Nike had significant work to do internally on assurance. Toward this end, we worked closely with our internal audit department in 2011 to design and train subject-matter experts and data consolidators on the expectations for verifiable work, and reviewed some key data collection, consolidation and retention processes.
Going forward, we continue to address information-systems development and consistency. Where direct-source information is only partially available or is extrapolated, we note that in our reporting, and throughout we understand that there are significant improvements to be made, especially where data comes from third parties such as contract factories or material vendors that supply to such factories. Some areas are subject to rotating audits, where we go deeper into the information and systems that generate information and help us to calculate and report on our impacts. It is not possible to verify 100 percent of data contained in our reporting, although we track the sources and the methods for measuring and consolidating what we do report and aim for continuous improvement. At times, that aim is met by our need to adjust information based on new systems or better data which can replace previous information or metrics – especially those based on estimates and extrapolation.
In 2008 we explored third-party assurance and audit systems with leading providers. At the time, the available approaches appeared to be very cumbersome and had the potential to lock us into systems that were less nimble and less able to address the evolving nature of this practice area.
We understand the value of external assurance. We have continued to review and discuss the issue with company management, our internal audit team and other external stakeholders. We still believe we have internal steps to complete before undertaking this kind of robust review. We have begun discussions around the timing, pace and value of assurance, while continuing to address issues raised through our internal audit processes.
Our aim is to measure our performance and report accurate data. At times, that means the systems and methodology for gathering information need to change even as we collect data and learn more about whether we are asking the right questions and whether we are getting the information that will help us to answer those questions. We also aim to be transparent in the systems and methodologies we apply for assessing data – past, current and future – and how those methods can change over time for reasons including evolutions in methods and standards, and availability of data. At times these changes may render previously reported data incomparable. We aim for transparency about how these changes affect comparability over time.