Nike Quits U.S. Chamber Board

Nike Inc. has relinquished its seat on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, citing “fundamental” disagreements with the business group’s position on global warming.

Nike stressed the urgency for “aggressive climate” change legislation and said in a statement on Sept. 30 that the Chamber “has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors.” 

The sportswear firm, a longtime champion of environmental sustainability, cited recent statements by the Chamber challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in setting climate-change policy.

A Nike spokeswoman said the EPA is preparing to declare emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from new cars and their engines as “dangers to public health and welfare.”

The Chamber’s president and chief executive, Thomas Donahue, issued a statement Tuesday, claiming that climate-change policy should be set by Congress, not the EPA. Donahue also said the Chamber opposed a climate-change bill approved by the House of Representatives in June. 

Donahue argued, however, that the Chamber continues to support the need for strong federal climate-change legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse carbon emissions around the globe and address climate change.

“The EPA issue is just one of many stances the Chamber has taken on climate change that Nike disagrees with,” the Nike spokeswoman told Footwear News. “We feel they are not being progressive enough on the issue of global warming and climate change.”

Nike said it will continue to be a member of the Chamber, despite the differences, because it believes “we can better influence policy by being part of the conversation.”

A spokesman for the Chamber did not immediately return a call for comment.

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