One Year Later, GU Scraps Adidas
Company failed to adequately address overseas labor abuse
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 02:01
The university has cut its contract with Adidas one year after the sportswear company was accused of violating Georgetown’s Code of Conduct for Licensees.
The Worker Rights Consortium accused Adidas in January 2012 of failing to pay $1.8 million in severance to workers of the PT Kizone plant in Indonesia after the factory shut down in 2011.
The Licensing Oversight Committee — a body formed of students and administrators that monitors the university’s apparel contracts — made a formal recommendation to the Office of the President on Oct. 11 that Georgetown terminate its contract with the corporation.
Although the recommendation called for the university to act by Dec. 15, Georgetown waited until yesterday afternoon to send a letter addressed to Adidas representatives Gregg Nebel and Chris McGuire announcing that the school would terminate its contract.
According to the letter, which is signed by Vice President for Public Affairs Erik Smulson, Adidas attempted to assuage the university but ultimately failed.
“As a Catholic and Jesuit university, deeply committed to the dignity of all persons and human labor, Georgetown University is steadfast in its commitment to improving the working conditions and lives of workers involved in the production of apparel that bears its name or logo,” Smulson wrote.
The letter indicates, however, that Georgetown might someday renegotiate a contract with Adidas.
“It continues to be our sincere hope that, going forward, the [Adidas Group] will take concrete steps to address and rectify the issues for the former workers of PT Kizone,” Smulson wrote. “When that happens, Georgetown University will be willing to reconsider its business relationship.”
Georgetownjoins multiple universities that have terminated their contracts with Adidas. Cornell University cut ties with the corporation on Sept. 13, 2012.
LOC student representative and Georgetown Solidarity Committee member Julia Hubbell (COL ’15), who helped organize a petition on change.org in September calling for the school to sever ties with Adidas, was glad to hear of the resolution.
“I am incredibly proud of the university and the decision that it has decided to make in ending its relationship with Adidas. I think it’s an incredibly important statement of our Jesuit values in action,” Hubbell said. “It is an important example of the university upholding its just employment policy — not just on campus, but internationally.”