According to reports on the Politico blog, the company is to release a statement relinquishing its board position at the Chamber in protest at the group's lobbying against tougher US climate change legislation. However, it will stop short of leaving the group altogether so that it can "advocate for climate change legislation" from within the group.
The news comes after shareholder groups yesterday wrote to Nike calling on the sportswear giant to quit the trade group.
According to reports, three socially responsible investor groups -- Green Century Funds, Newground Social Investment and the Basilian Fathers of Toronto -- have written to the company arguing that it is no longer in the firm's interest to be associated with a group that is lobbying to block US climate change legislation.
In an open letter to Nike chief executive Mark Parker, Kristina Curtis, president of Green Century Equity Fund, said that the investment firm was "dismayed that Nike has not taken a more aggressive stance" against the Chamber, particularly given that it has been a vocal supporter of tighter climate change legislation through its position as a founding member of the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy group.
Curtis added that the decision last week by US energy firms Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG &E) and PNM Resources to leave the Chamber of Commerce over its climate change stance had set a "new standard for corporate responsibility in the face of profoundly unsustainable actions" that Nike should now follow.
Earlier this month, the Chamber's vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times in which he called for a series of public hearings on the science the EPA used to justify its recent decision that carbon dioxide represents a health risk and can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
Likening the proposed hearings to the 1920s Scopes Trial on evolution, Kovacs said that the hearings would represent the "science of climate change on trial."
The Chamber has since tried to soften its stance slightly, arguing that the analogy was "inappropriate" and that it is simply calling for hearings on the extent to which global warming poses a threat, rather than on climate science itself.
But the move has still prompted a flurry of high-profile walk outs from firms lobbying for more ambitious action on climate change. In the latest development, US nuclear energy giant Exelon this week announced that it will join PG&E and PNM Resources in not renewing its membership.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Exelon chairman and chief executive John W. Rowe said that the company had left the chamber as a direct result of its "stridency against carbon legislation", adding that putting a price on carbon emissions through a national cap-and-trade scheme was "essential" to tackling climate change.