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Nike Outlines Commitment to Diversity After Shareholders Reject a Proposal for DEI Disclosure

Nike shareholders voted down a resolution to disclose more details related to diversity, equity and inclusion progress. According to the company, the resolution — taken up at Nike’s annual meeting yesterday — was never necessary.

“We believe this demonstrates confidence in the company’s existing disclosures as provided in our Impact Report, our site  and elsewhere,” Nike said in a statement regarding the results of the vote.

The resolution in question, proposed by consultancy Whistle Stop Capital and corporate watchdog and shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, would have required Nike to publish an annual report assessing its progress on certain DEI initiatives, including, at minimum, details on how the board measures the effectiveness of DEI programs and metrics related to the promotion, recruitment and retention of protected classes of employees. As You Sow argued that Nike’s current reporting process does not allow for comparison with other companies and does not disclose promotion and retention rates by race and ethnicity.

Nike’s board of directors previously recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal, citing the company’s already existing annual report that addresses “the essential objective of the proposal,” including information of DEI initiatives.

In a statement to FN, Nike said it discloses the “actual percentage representation of women globally and racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, as well as year-over-year changes to enable our shareholders to track the progress that we have made in advancing diversity in our workforce generally as well as specifically in senior leadership roles.”

Nike also said it would start disclosing workforce composition data from its EEO-1 forms in 2021, but maintained that it does not find that source to be a meaningful measure of progress, due to do its outdated nature at the time of publishing.

Nike has made some notable improvements in DEI efforts in recent years. According to its annual 2020 Impact Report, Nike increased the share of racial and ethnic minorities in its overall workforce in 2020 by 5.16%. It also saw a 13.38% increase at the VP level. Nike said its 2020 intern class was its most diverse yet, with 55% of interns this past year were women and 49% were racial and ethnic minorities.

“We are focused on building a diverse, inclusive team and culture, one in which all voices are welcomed and heard,” Nike said. “This culture of belonging reflects the diversity of our athletes, our consumers and the communities we serve.”
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