Scene: A debate between Nike CEO Phil Knight and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. The are speaking to an audience dealing with adversity or company criticism
Debate Moderator: I’d like to thank Mr. Knight and Mr. Mackey for volunteering to show up this evening and discuss their views on running a business. Mr. Knight, I’d like to start with you, if you don’t mind.
Knight: Not at all
Debate Moderator: In the past, Nike has been accused of having children illegally working in their Indonesian factories. How did Nike respond to those accusations?
Knight: That’s a very interesting question, and I’m glad that you asked it. As a company, Nike has taken many steps into changing the perception that Nike uses illegal child labor. We hired numerous auditors to inspect our companies and we changed our factory regulations in the contracts of the factories we do business with.
Mackey: Why did Nike wait so long to make substantial changes? You’d been under criticism for years about your work factories’ conditions, yet it wasn’t until your earnings were hit hard that you decided to truly change.
Knight: I don’t consider that a correct evaluation of our company.
Mackey: Why not?
Knight: We believed that the actions we took in the early 90’s would solve our child labor problems.
Mackey: I disagree. As I said before, it wasn’t until your company was financially hurt that you took serious action. In 2003, Whole Foods was accused of not having organic enough food, and instead of hiding behind our product and profits, I decided to look into the matter. In only three months time, I realize that my critics were right. I decided to change the way Whole Foods processed our food, so that it would make our customers happy. I believe if your company was not as concerned with earning a profit, and more concerned with fostering love and caring, you would have realized what horrors you were putting your workers through.