Nike CEO Defends Doing Business In China: ‘We Operate Very Aligned To Our Values’

[Screenshot/Twitter/Public — User: SaraEisen]

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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Nike CEO Jack Donahoe said Thursday that the way the Fortune 100 company operates in China aligns with its values.

“We connect the consumers in markets all over the world,” Donahoe told CNBC anchor Sara Eisen. “I could say, go into any country around the world and consumers in that market consider Nike a brand of their market for them and that’s one of the reasons Nike has been so globally successful.”

“We operate very aligned with our values – always have been, always will – including throughout our entire supply chain,” he added. “This is simply part of the challenges of operating a global brand in global markets and we’ve navigated that very well for 50 years and we will continue to do that.”

Eisen was following up on Donahoe’s statement in which he said during a call with Wall Street analysts in June, “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China.” He received backlash due to China’s human rights abuses, particularly on enslaved Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang region. (RELATED: Nike CEO John Donahoe Pledges Allegiance To China, Says It’s ‘A Brand That Is Of China And For China’)

Several major Fortune 500 companies, including Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola, have fought against efforts to stop forced labor in China. Nike and other corporations fought to weaken the language in the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that passed in the House by a 403-6 vote. Nike and other companies, including Apple, said the bill would harm their supply chains in China, The New York Times reported.

Despite Nike’s connection to forced labor in China, the company spoke out against racism in America in May 2020.

Other major companies that are also linked to forced Uyghur labor include Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Cisco Systems, General Motors, Calvin Klein, Adidas, BMW and H&M.

“We take a very long-term view in China,” Donahue added in his CNBC interview. “We’re continuing to invest in China, and we’ll continue to invest in China while also operating a very responsible global supply chain.”