social responsibility and Business ethics

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Businesses don't exist in a vacuum; rather, they are a part of individuals and of society as a whole. There are certain anticipated norms of conduct embedded in the corporate ethics to ensure a positive connection between these enterprises and the community. The efficient communication between organizations and the general public in the society in which they function is made possible by these ethics. Additionally, businesses have a social responsibility to protect the public from health risks and other dangers by not exposing them to them. Sadly, despite the structure for social responsibility and ethical standards being in place, some businesses do not adhere to these requirements. Nike is such a company that has lived to the ethical principles and corporate social responsibility. It is an American multinational corporation that deals with design, development, manufacturing and marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. It is among the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes. It was founded in the year 1964 January 25th and by then it was known as blue ribbon sports (O'Reilly, 2014). In the 90’s there were allegations of Nike hiring underage employees and people widely criticized it, but later the company took action to reduce those practices. In this light, this study will explore the role of cooperate social responsibilities and ethical performance in line with Nike’s active performance in alleviating the society from social issues.

This topic was an interesting one for me since it sharply brings out two contradicting faces of Nike. In one hand, the organization was subject to criticism over abuse of laborers including having a contractor who used force to recruit workers including under-ager in Vietnam East Asia. On the other hand, Nike is represented as a responsible organization that effectively conducts its activities in line with ethical standards (“Sporting Goods Stores in the US,” 2016). Through its initiatives to offer support to community-based projects thereby executing its social responsibilities as a corporate requirement. Thus, I chose this subject as research study because it will help to shed light on the importance of corporate social responsibilities.

Data collection

The study employee’s secondary data derived from online sources and available literature. Owing to logistical and other difficulties in conducting an actual research on the subject, the viable mechanism is the application of readily available data. Thus, this will explore and scrutinize the literature and other available information from the secondary sources.

Literature review

According to George (2014), ethic responsibilities incorporates norms and expectations that consumers, employees, shareholders, and the community regard as fair, just, or in keeping with the respect or protection of stakeholders’ moral rights. Additionally, these ethical standards are enshrined in the legal requirements of the firms. The companies are there expected to act within these confinements of the law as a way of assuring the stakeholders that they are responsible for their actions (Grande-Bretagne., & Grande-Bretagne, 2005). Accordingly, the willingness and participation of Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program show a degree of social responsibility and that it acts according to the legal framework in terms of ethical performance.

Moreover, Vogel (2005) believes that greed can affect the safety of the customers as it happened with General Motors cover-up of a defective ignition switch. This shows that ethics play a significant role in guiding the relationship between the society and the organization. When greed guides the firms in their operations, they risk the lives of the consumers of their products thereby threating their existence. In this light, ethics supports both the wellbeing of the society and that of the organization in the realization that they depend on each other. The society depends on the firms to employ some locals, to provide revenue that is generated toward other services for the community and other different reasons. On the other hand, the business depends on the communities to purchase its products and services to make a profit and to ensure its existence. Thus, when one is disrupted the existence of the other is influenced.

Heskett et al., (1997) argues that firms need to be concerned with corporate social responsibility (CSR) which is defined a commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development when demonstrating respect for communities, society at large, and the environment. In other words, corporate social responsibilities marry the ideas of global citizenship with environmental stewardship and sustainable development. The three relies significantly on positive performance of each unit for a sustainable development. If the corporation fails to protect the society, it risks lacking consumers or the products and workers thereby affecting its future growth (Crebert et a., 2011). Furthermore, failing to protect the environment puts the lives of the community and the firm at risk in future hence they are all critical in one way or another.

Analysis of the findings

Society and businesses are interdependent hence corporate must be concerned about the society and not just profits (“Corporate social performance” 2016). That is why the new England-based environmental organization clean air-cool planet, has ranked Nike among the top companies that are climate-friendly (George, 2014). It is well known to be socially responsible due to its conservation of the environment. The firm started a campaign in 2008 featuring basketball star Steve Nash that involves recycling leather that might have been left to waste on the floor. It also collects ground-up rubbers from a shoe recycling program. It has a project called Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. This program started in 1993 benefiting both the community and the environment. Because it collects old athletics shoes and processes them to recycle them. After which it uses the final product of the recycle to create sports surfaces.

The firm has greatly impacted the social environment around it and worldwide by ensuring efficient product design and manufacturing technologies. It has been able to transform factory scrap into premium materials for usage in Nike performance footwear and apparel. It also reduced on its pollution on the environment by launching energy and carbon program in the year 2008. It also reduced water wastage by 18% per unit in apparel materials. The company is dedicated to improving the working conditions of their employees and curbing maltreatment. It works closely with the community to help people living with HIV/AIDS in collaboration with community-based ventures like (RED) (O'Reilly, 2014).

The argument from the above point of views is that Nike despite is negative publicity in some countries, it has worked enough to clear its reputation. It involves itself in community-based programs that are aimed at improving the livelihood of the society and the environment. This the organization honors its corporate social responsibilities. Additionally, it acts in accordance with the ethical standards of the organization as required by law. By doing so it avoids any unnecessary litigation that might be costly and damaging to its brand reputation globally.

The modern consumers are aware of the business environment and are high demanding to corporates to act in accordance with social responsibilities (Vogel, 2005). The relationship that is developed between the consumers and the brand is that of mutual benefit. A failure to live as consumers demand the organization risks losing its loyal customers to competitors. Thus, through Nike doing justice to its consumers, it promotes its brand loyalty and attracts more customers to buy its products. This translates to positive growth of the society and profits to the organization resulting in its growth.

Moreover, linking business ethics to its reputation makes efficient management of reputation an important consideration that drives the success of the business (Chartered Accountants of New Zealand, 2013). This demonstrates the need for ethical performance and how such ethics contribute to the success of an organization. Accordingly, the success of Nike in the US market can be indirectly linked to its positive contributions to the society and its ethics that makes the society to support the organization.


In conclusion, Nike has played a big role in conserving the environment around it. This is by ensuring minimal emission of gases to the air thus minimal pollution of the atmosphere. It has reduced water usage making it favorable for the society around. It also works together with other organizations to help people living with HIV/AIDS. It has also advanced the technology it uses in making shoes. This has helped athletes largely by ensuring that they run for longer periods without experiencing bones or muscles pains afterward. It also looks at the wellbeing of their employees and ensure favorable working environment for all of their employees.


Charatered Accountants of New Zealand. (2013). Why Ethics Matters. Retrieved from

Corporate social performance: Reflecting on the past and investing in the future. (2016). Charlotte: Information Age Pub.

Crebert, G., Patrick, C.-J., Cragnolini, V., Smith, C., Worsfold, K., & Webb, F. (2011). Ethical Behavior and Social Responsibility Toolkit.

George, K., (2014). Ethical Business Practice: The involvement of Internal Audit. Birmingham City University. Retrieved from

Grande-Bretagne., & Grande-Bretagne. (2005). Company law reform. London: The Stationery Office.

Heskett, James L., W. Earl Sasser, Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger (1997), The Service Profit Chain 8. , The Free Press, New York, New York.

Information Resources Management Association. (2015). Business law and ethics: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. Print

O'Reilly, L. (2014, November 04). 11 Things Hardly Anyone Knows About Nike. Retrieved September 23, 2017, from

Sporting Goods Stores in the US Market Research. IBISWorld. (2016). Retrieved 24 June 2016, from

Vogel, D. (2005). The market for virtue: The potential and limits of corporate social responsibility. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press.

February 22, 2023
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