Blog: Leonie BarrieRealigning sustainability visions and values

Leonie Barrie | 17 June 2013

Lululemon Athletica's recall of its black Luon pants back in March continues to have repercussions. Last week it was revealed that CEO Christine Day is to quit as the company announced a first-quarter write-off of US$17.5m linked to the recall.

Indeed, assessing its true cost could take some time yet. While the revenue shortfall caused by the recall could be as high as $67m, this figure is likely to reduce as Luon products return to the shelves.

Retailer Marks & Spencer issued a rallying cry for sustainability at its Plan A supplier conference - with former US vice president and environmental activist Al Gore talking about some of the issues he believes the business community needs to address. M&S chief executive Marc Bolland also argued that sustainability visions and values need to be realigned.

And closing the loop in the clothing supply chain is continuing to make progress, with more brands beginning to launch products that use recycled fibres.

But with apparel businesses increasingly receiving criticism and advice from many different directions - including some of the world's most powerful institutions - we ask whether this suggests compliance has reached a watershed moment?

That said, political turmoil and deadly industrial accidents have not hampered growth in the Bangladesh apparel sector, with woven garment exports rising more than 14% in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year.

And protests continued last week over the mass sacking in Cambodia of striking workers who make garments for companies including Nike, Lululemon and Wilson Sports Apparel. The dispute is taking place at the Sabrina factory in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.


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