November 27, 2012
University of Washington to sever business relationship with Adidas
University of Washington President Michael K. Young has instructed the university’s Office of Trademarks and Licensing to sever the university’s business relationship with Adidas, which produces UW-licensed products. The decision follows months of student protest of the UW relationship with Adidas and a recommendation from the UW Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing.
The advisory committee, comprising students, faculty and staff, has been reviewing the university’s relationship with Adidas over the past year to determine if the company’s actions were consistent with its obligations under the university’s code of conduct. At issue has been Adidas’ responsibility for contractors in its supply chain to comply with local law — specifically, the case in Indonesia of the P.T. Kizone company’s failure to meet its obligations under Indonesian law to provide severance compensation to workers in a factory it closed. The advisory committee found Adidas’ response to the situation inadequate and unacceptable and recommended to President Young that the University of Washington discontinue all agreements with the apparel licensee.
In accepting the committee’s recommendation, Young said, “Whatever technical or legal arguments Adidas may rely on to support its position in this case, the bottom line is that its handling of the situation does not meet our expectations for the humane and ethical treatment of workers who produce UW licensed products.”
The UW licensing agreement with Adidas will terminate immediately. Under the terms of such actions, Adidas will have 60 days to sell any remaining UW inventory.