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Learning English - Words in the News
15 April, 2005 - Published 12:32 GMT
Nike openness
More than 120 Chinese factories produce goods for Nike

The sports goods manufacturer Nike has published the names and addresses of the factories that make goods for it. The move comes as campaigners demand more openness so conditions can be examined. This report from Steve Evans:

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Nike lists a hundred-and-twenty-four plants making its goods in China, among seven-hundred around the world, many of them in dirt poor countries. It also documents inspections of five-hundred-and-sixty-nine factories working for it, in some of which it found evidence of physical and verbal abuse.

The company follows the Gap clothing chain in deciding that rather than washing its hands of conditions in its supplier factories, it will monitor them. Campaigners against sweatshops hope the change by a market leader by Nike will now persuade others to do the same.

A dilemma exists for companies though. Third World costs and standards make profitable First World sales. Nike and Gap discovered though the hard way that bad publicity also has a cost.

Steve Evans, BBC, New York

Listen to the words

dirt poor
extremely poor

keeps a record of

bad treatment

clothing chain
a large number of shops in the same company that sell clothes

washing its hands of
not paying attention to, ignoring


watch, regularly check

factories where workers work long hours under poor conditions

a situation where a choice has to be made between two alternatives

the hard way
through their own bad experience

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