Human Rights and Labor Compliance Standards

Our Commitment to Human Rights

At Nike, we strongly believe and are committed to respecting human rights. It is not only the right thing to do, it also drives our success by allowing people’s full potential to be realized. We look to the human rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work. We also consider the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises as best practice for understanding and managing human rights risks and impacts.

Our commitment to respecting human rights is more specifically described in our many policies, standards and strategies, including our Code of Business Conduct – Inside the Lines, our Supplier Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards, and our Privacy Policy as well as our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy. These commitments apply to our employees, communities, consumers, sponsored athletes, and includes our own operations as well as the partners and suppliers we work with in our manufacturing and logistics supply chains.

We are committed to providing safe, confidential and accessible channels to ensure that anyone can report any matter that they believe is inconsistent with Nike’s values and policies. Our Speak Up Portal, which can be accessed anytime online or by phone, is a resource to ask questions or raise concerns about potential violations of Nike’s policies. We treat all reports seriously and will investigate promptly. Nike does not tolerate retaliation in any form.

Nike recognizes there is no finish line when it comes to respect for human rights. We will continue to create equal playing fields for all.

At NIKE, Inc., we elevate human potential on a global scale. We serve athletes* . We inspire people to challenge their limits. And through sport, we strive to help shape a better world. As a company with greater potential for impact than ever, I believe that every one of us has a part to play. Each one of us shapes Nike’s culture and future success through our behaviors and practices. This starts with our mission and our Maxims — our core values and beliefs that help anchor, inform and guide us — and extends through our commitment to advance and respect human rights in all that we do.
John Donahoe, Nike, Inc. CEO

Respect for Human Rights in Nike’s Supply Chain

Nike does not own or operate the facilities which produce our products. However, we are prioritizing and growing relationships with suppliers who share our commitment to respect human rights and are investing in their workforces. Nike’s expectations for suppliers start with our Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards. Nike’s Code of Conduct is aligned with international standards and contains the foundational requirements all suppliers must meet in producing Nike-branded products. The Code Leadership Standards contain more detailed requirements on how the Nike Code of Conduct must be implemented. They also include specification on the development of robust management systems which are essential to consistently maintaining compliance with local law and our standards.

Commitment to Core Labor Rights

Nike specifically and directly forbids the use of child labor in facilities contracted to make Nike products. The Nike Code of Conduct requires that workers must be at least 16 years of age, or past the national legal age of compulsory schooling and minimum working age, whichever is higher. The requirements also specify that workers between the ages of 16 and 18 cannot be employed in positions which may be hazardous such as working with chemicals or heavy machinery [1], nor can they work at night. Our Code of Conduct age requirements exceed those of the International Labour Organization (15 years of age, and 14 years of age in some developing countries).

Nike’s Code Leadership Standards include specific requirements on how suppliers must verify workers’ ages prior to starting employment. They also contain specific requirements for actions the facility must take to remediate a situation where the supplier violates Nike’s standards with focus on protecting the rights and wellbeing of the worker. Those requirements include:

  • Removing the underage employee from the workplace;
  • Providing support to enable the underage employee to attend and remain in school or a vocational training until the age of 16 or the minimum legal working age, whichever is higher; and
  • Agreement to rehire the underage employee when they reach the age of 16 or legal working age if the worker wishes.

[1] Hazardous conditions are those defined as working with hazardous chemicals, working with dangerous machinery, night work or as otherwise identified by country law.

Forced Labor

Nike has strict requirements in our Code of Conduct prohibiting any type of forced, bonded or indentured labor at supplier facilities. We know that such prohibitions by themselves are not enough; we must also address key risks which collectively can contribute to a situation of forced labor. One such risk is workers paying any recruitment-related fees to obtain a job, which is a particularly common risk for foreign migrant workers. In 2008, Nike was one of the first companies to establish a supply chain policy with explicit requirements on the employment of foreign workers, including the prohibition on workers paying for their employment.

Nike is a member of the Institute for Human Rights and Business’ Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (LGRR). We joined because we believe the adoption of the Employer Pays Principle, a commitment that no worker should pay for a job and the employer should pay the full costs of recruitment, is critical to eliminating forced labor risks in our supply chain, industry and beyond. We share the aims of the LGRR to drive positive change in the international recruitment industry starting with a focus on prohibiting workers paying fees for their employment.

To further that goal we are proud to be a founding signatory to the American Apparel and Footwear Association & Fair Labor Association’s Apparel & Footwear Commitment on Responsible Recruitment. The principles of the Commitment, centered on addressing risks for forced labor, are aligned with Nike’s standards and the work we have been doing with our supply chain manufacturers for more than a decade. We believe this builds on the focus by several other sectors to drive change in the dynamics of how workers are recruited for cross border employment.

The Nike Code Leadership Standards contain additional requirements to address key risks of forced labor, such as requiring worker freedom of movement and prohibiting requirements to post bonds or make deposits as a condition of employment. The Code Leadership Standards also contain specific provisions related to management of workers with unique vulnerabilities to risks of forced labor such as foreign workers and interns.

We believe it is key to collaborate both within our industry, as well as with leading organizations in other sectors, to drive the kinds of changes necessary to ensure the rights of workers are respected at every stage of employment. To support our work with suppliers on the implementation of our standards for ethical recruitment and employment of foreign workers, Nike is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI). The RLI is focused on providing support to brands and suppliers to understand, prioritize and address forced labor risks through the development of concrete tools designed to improve recruitment and employment practices.

For more information on our recent work to address risks of forced labor please see our statement pursuant to the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 and California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010.

Freedom of Association

We believe all workers have the right to freely associate and collectively bargain. Where freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law, Nike requires suppliers to allow for parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.

Our Code Leadership Standards contain detailed requirements on how suppliers must respect the rights of workers to freely associate. Those requirements include prohibitions on interference with workers seeking to organize or carry out union activities, as well as on any sort of activity which seeks to intimidate, harass, or retaliate against workers for participation in a union or other representative organization or for attempting to organize or form a union.

Discrimination and Gender Equity

Nike works to create a level playing field for our employees and the athletes we serve, and we also work with our suppliers to ensure fair opportunities for workers at the factories manufacturing our products. Nike’s Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards have detailed prohibitions on discrimination in hiring, compensation, promotion, discipline or any other aspect of employment.

The majority of workers involved in the global production of apparel and footwear are women. Many of those women have unique vulnerabilities relative to their male peers and can therefore be at risk for exploitation and abuse. Nike has long recognized these risks and has specific standards to protect women workers. Our requirements for suppliers include equal pay for equal work, safe work in connection to pregnancy, childbirth and nursing, prohibitions on discriminatory pregnancy testing or forced use of contraception, and provision of maternity benefits.


Nike is committed to responsible employment practices and we expect the same of our suppliers. Nike’s Code of Conduct requires our suppliers to pay their employees at least the local minimum wage or prevailing wage (whichever is higher), including premiums for overtime worked, legally mandated benefits, and compliance with social insurance regulations required by country law. Nike’s Code Leadership Standards also contain requirements for suppliers to work on the progressive realization of a fair wage, defined as meeting employees’ basic needs, including some discretionary income.

We are facilitating pilot research studies with supplier facilities, in collaboration with academic advisors, to test new compensation and incentive models to identify the most effective way to create new, easily understood compensation systems aligned with quality, efficiency and productivity that benefits facility managers, floor supervisors, line leaders and workers. We believe this is essential to creating sustainable compensation systems.

Working Hours

International standards and local laws restricting working hours are designed to protect the safety and long-term health of workers as well as to recognize that everyone has a right to rest and free time. Nike’s Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards require suppliers to adhere to the stricter of local law or International Labor Organization standards. We require suppliers to maintain timekeeping systems that accurately record all working time. Our Code of Conduct also requires that any overtime must be paid at a premium rate of either 125% of base rate, or higher per local law.

Ensuring workers consistently work below local and international caps on working hours remains a persistent challenge in many countries, both in our industry and beyond. It is one of the most common audit findings in many countries where our suppliers operate due in part to lack of effective management systems, as well as weak enforcement of local labor law. Nike measures compliance with our working hour standard through our audit program and closely tracks progress against our goal of eliminating excessive overtime in the facilities manufacturing our products.

Commitment to a Healthy and Safe Working Environment

Nike believes that the protection of life and health in the workplace is a fundamental right. Our vision is that all workers at our suppliers’ facilities are provided a safe, hygienic and healthy workplace, with robust safety management systems which foster a strong culture of safety.

We require suppliers producing Nike products to properly inform their workers about potential hazards of their job as well as adequately train them on how to perform their work safely. Through our Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards, we have detailed requirements aligned with internal standards and best practice for evaluating and minimizing a wide range of risks to workers and to the facility.

In particular, fire safety, building safety and occupational health issues are some of the highest risk health and safety issues in the footwear and apparel manufacturing industry. We require our suppliers to have fire prevention and emergency action plans in place to protect workers during normal working operations and emergency situations. Buildings must be constructed or retrofitted according to the laws of the manufacturing country, international standards if local laws do not exist, or certified structural engineering construction approvals. Additionally, we require our suppliers to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control occupational health and hygiene hazards in the workplace, use routine monitoring and analytical methods to determine the potential health effects of hazards that are present in the workplace, and control worker exposure to these health hazards.

Monitoring and Remediation

Nike monitors our suppliers’ compliance with our Code of Conduct and Code Leadership Standards through regular announced and unannounced audits conducted by internal and external parties. This includes audits by the Fair Labor Association and assessments by the International Labour Organization’s Better Work Programme. Our monitoring activities are conducted on a schedule determined based on each supplier’s facility’s prior performance.

When a supplier’s facility is found to have serious violations of Nike’s standards, it is required to remediate all issues identified and have on-site verification of the remediation. If a concern is raised by a third-party, Nike promptly investigates and requires corrective actions for any issues identified. Should a supplier fail to remediate issues identified by an audit or allegation investigation according to Nike’s requirements it would be subject to review and sanctions, including potential termination of the relationship.

Effective Grievance Processes and Worker Management Communication

Establishing trusted, effective grievance mechanisms for workers to use to raise concerns about working conditions and conditions of employment are an essential element in protecting the rights of workers and building an engaged workforce. Nike’s Code Leadership Standards require our suppliers to have effective grievance processes which include the ability to raise grievances anonymously and confidentially without fear of retaliation. The standards also require training of workers on the facility’s grievance system as well as a process to track grievances and to responds to workers in a timely manner. Suppliers are also encouraged to involve worker representatives in resolution of grievances.

In addition to formal grievance processes, Nike believes that effective two-way communication between management and workers is key to creating strong and growing businesses. Some of our supplier’s facilities have one or more formal unions where their elected representatives serve a critical function in representing and negotiating on behalf of workers and as an important partner in broader communications.

Many of our suppliers’ facilities also have worker committees through which management can get direct input on how to continually improve operations and working conditions. One such area is health and safety. Nike recognizes the critical role workers play in identifying risks and opportunities to improve the health and safety conditions of the facility. Therefore, through the Code Leadership Standards, Nike requires supplier facilities to have a specific health, safety and environment committee composed of at least equal numbers of workers and managers. Our suppliers’ facilities have other committees to directly engage workers and continually improve working conditions and worker satisfaction and engagement.

Given the emergence of new technologies over the past several years Nike has been working with our suppliers to identify and implement ways to improve grievance mechanisms and two-way communication between workers and management.