One of the most fundamental impacts NIKE, Inc.'s business can have is to improve working conditions in our global supply chain and the industry as a whole.

The three main product lines of Nike's brand - footwear, apparel and equipment - are made by approximately 600 contract factories that employ more than 800,000 workers in 46 countries around the world.

Our overarching goal is to help build an equitable and empowered work force. We have worked toward this goal for nearly a decade, pioneering a variety of approaches to influence positive change in our supply chain. We've learned from our successes and our shortcomings, and shared that learning through these reports and other means. And while we can point to many examples of improvements, challenging issues remain for our company and our industry in systemically identifying and tackling how to affect long-term system-wide change. We have begun to identify these root causes in our work and continue working to address them with contracted manufacturers and other brands.

Today we're in the starting blocks of a transformation in how we manage sustainability issues for our company and within our supply chain. We are working with contract factories to apply lean manufacturing processes, an approach that delivers the highest-quality product while eliminating all types of waste, including lost time and material.

Nike's deliberate approach to lean manufacturing includes worker empowerment - giving factory workers the skills and abilities needed to manage production and immediately address issues as they arise, such as quality or process improvements. These changes put decisions closer to the worker, and require a high level of support to ensure all workers have the skills and confidence to consistently produce quality products. We believe our lean manufacturing approach holds great promise for worker empowerment and for building a more skilled and equitable work force.

We are also moving toward a more integrated approach to managing the complexity of our supply chain by merging our lean, energy, water, waste and compliance teams into a single effort: sustainable manufacturing and sourcing.

Our vision of sustainability remains the same as it always has: to bring people, planet and profits into balance. For Nike, this is not about trading one off against the other. It's about recognizing that sustainability is a route to future profitability, and that a sustainable economy or business model must lead to equitable supply chains: if we attend to the needs of the environment or profits, but not supply chains, we will not have succeeded.