January 19, 2021

Nike and Coca-Cola Lobby Against Xinjiang Forced Labor Bill

“Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct and any violations of our policies carry immediate consequences, including business termination,” the statement said. “Earlier this year, we conducted a detailed investigation with our suppliers in China and found no evidence of forced labor on Apple production lines and we are continuing to monitor this closely.”

Lobbying disclosures show that companies have spent heavily to sway Congress on Xinjiang-related legislation, though they reveal nothing about their specific requests.

In the first three quarters of 2020, Nike spent $920,000 on in-house lobbying of Congress and other federal agencies. Disclosures do not break down expenditures by topic, but show Nike lobbied on matters including physical education grants, taxes and climate change, as well as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

Nike also paid outside firms like Cornerstone Government Affairs, Ogilvy, Capitol Counsel, GrayRobinson, American Continental Group, DiNino Associates and Empire Consulting Group more than $400,000 this year to lobby on issues including the act.

Mr. Rossiter said that Nike had these firms on retainer long before the Xinjiang legislation was introduced, and that the company actively worked with lobbying firms to engage Congress on a variety of subjects it cares about.

Coca-Cola has also invested heavily, spending $4.68 million in the first three quarters of 2020 on in-house lobbying and hiring Empire Consulting Group and Sidley Austin to lobby on issues including the act.

Coca-Cola said in a statement that it complies with all laws associated with its political activities and has “adopted best-in-class disclosures practices.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce declined to comment on lobbying, instead providing a letter it sent to Congress in November with seven other industry groups. The letter said the groups had long been working to combat forced labor, and urged the government to take a comprehensive approach that would mobilize the administration, Congress and foreign governments to address the problem, in addition to industry.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/29/business/economy/nike-coca-cola-xinjiang-forced-labor-bill.html

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