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It's no secret that Nike doesn't have the best labor-rights track record. But in a recent interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Shelly Banjo, Nike's CEO Mark Parker said he's learned that in overseeing factory conditions, "ignorance is not bliss."
"We've moved from being defensive about the issues to taking an offensive approach. We don't play good defense at Nike," said Parker, who has been with the company for 34 years.
But an offensive approach will be difficult. Banjo's recent Wall Street Journal article explains how Nike's executives are extremely divided in their views on how to balance expenses and factory conditions.
Whether Nike plays offense, defense, or chooses to work as a team, worker safety should not be treated as a sport. Last year, Bangladesh experienced one of its greatest tragedies when a garment factory building collapsed, killing and injuring thousands of workers. After the incident, many companies decided to pull manufacturing out of the country, but Nike is keeping its four factories open. The company may be able to move forward and find the balance between cost and safety, but when it comes to human lives, sometimes you don't "just do it."