Blog: Behind the scenes at Asda
Chris Brook-Carter | 2 October 2009
The news that Asda is attempting to turn itself into the paragon of transparency is well-timed. Few can blame the retailer for trying to leverage some trust, given the general public's dissatisfaction with its major corporations, who we continue to bail out because of their own greed; its politicians, who still ask us to vote for them, despite their greed; and our sportsmen, who will even crash a Formula 1 car into a barrier at 100 mph in the pursuit of their greed.
So why then has the announcement by Asda's CEO Andy Bond been received so flatly?
“Forget online Britney Spears clips: Asda wants you to switch to a live webcam of workers at its carrot factory. It's part of the grocer's desire to boost confidence in its supply chain. Laudable enough, but don't people have better things to do with their time than watch carrot chopping?” the Independent asked today. And it was not alone.
Are we all being far too cynical? Perhaps the events of the last year have persuaded us to look for the spin doctor's hand in every announcement by a major business. Bond himself says: “Events over the past year mean that faith in big businesses is lower than it’s ever been – because people have stopped trusting what’s going on behind closed doors. So, from today, there is no ‘behind the scenes’ at Asda.
“Our aim is to be a truly open, accessible and transparent business so that we can rebuild trust, and drive customer loyalty. I firmly believe that customer loyalty cannot be bought with plastic points or discount vouchers. It has to be earned.”
But that is exactly the point. Trust does have to be earned, and a few pictures of carrots being chopped up are not going to be enough.
In Bond's defence, this is only the beginning of the project, and he claims that the supermarket will give its consumers a glimpse into the areas of the business they want to see. Furthermore, plans for a "truly transparent" store, in South Wales "where glass walls will replace brick walls, giving a unique window into areas normally out of view", are a nice touch.
However, any skeletons – if there are any – in Asda's closets are not going to be found at the carrot factory, but in the boardrooms at HQ, in the details of the contracts with its suppliers and in the third world factories that produce its clothing ranges.
No competitive business, particularly one owned by the secretive Wal-Mart is going to release a warts-and-all expose on that side of its operations. Yet, unless it does, Asda's claims of transparency fall short.
By Chris Brook-Carter.
Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...
The Bangladesh government was forced to respond late last week to pressure over its crackdown on labour activists after a number of global brands and retailers, including H&M and Inditex announced pla...
Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...
With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...
- Digitalisation and data to disrupt supply chains
- EU eyes mandatory due diligence for apparel supply
- Unlocks for the future fashion sourcing landscape
- What TTIP might mean for US, EU textiles & apparel
- Geo-political uncertainty and how to survive it
- Li & Fung forms supply chain partnership with PVH
- US Q4 in brief – G-III Apparel, Finish Line
- Big data to help US firms improve clothing fit
- Levi Strauss and ILO probe Cambodia factory death
- Labour rights risk Bangladesh EU trade benefits?
- Central and East Europe Report Package
- Central America strategic sourcing review - a focus on Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack