Nike Shareholders To Call for Diversity Disclosure At Annual Meeting

Nike shareholders will vote on an As You Sow shareholder resolution
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BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA—Nike shareholders will vote on an As You Sow shareholder resolution asking the company to disclose information on the effectiveness of its diversity and inclusion efforts this Wednesday, Oct. 6, at its annual general meeting. Supporters of the resolution say release of this data will increase alignment with Nike’s marketing around racial and social justice themes which historically includes athletes and celebrities of color.

Investors are concerned that Nike risks being seen as demonstrating performative allyship or “woke-washing” if it continues to advertise themes of race and social justices without providing detailed data on the effectiveness of its own internal diversity programs. The company does not publicly provide information linked to promotion, recruitment, or retention rates of employees, but has recently stated it plans to release workforce composition data through its EEO-1 form, a standardized data set currently released by almost three-quarters of the S&P100.

“Nike has allocated significant capital into building its reputation as a leader on social justice issues,” said Meredith Benton, workplace equity program manager at As You Sow and founder of consultancy Whistle Stop Capital. “Investors are seeking reassurance that its own practices are sufficiently implemented to protect its very valuable brand.”

Jaylen Spann, an associate at Whistle Stop Capital who is presenting the resolution to Nike’s board, said: “I encourage Nike to step forward and share honestly the effectiveness of its diversity programs; demonstrating, even in the face of imperfection, that it is truly committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Nike sits in contrast to other companies where As You Sow has made similar requests, including Visa, Gilead, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard, MetLife, Morgan Stanley, and Oracle. These companies have all agreed to meaningful increases in their diversity reporting.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Olivia Knight, As You Sow’s racial justice initiative manager. “In today’s climate of racial justice awareness, diversity cannot just be a marketing campaign or a few hires to meet the mark. It’s time for Nike to demonstrate leadership in every facet of their company.”

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Click here to see As You Sow’s shareholder resolution tracker.

Whistle Stop Capital is a consultancy that offers outsourced sustainable investment services, working with asset owners and advisors to assess and address material social and environmental exposures within their investment portfolios.

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