A Bloomberg report paints a grim picture of a West African 13-year-old girl who sleeps on a thin, plastic mat; works in 100-degree heat; is beaten; and is fed once a day some days, but not at all on others. Clarissa works for a farm certified as organic and fair trade-and supplies cotton to Victoria's Secret. Video on Bloomberg.
Although only a small amount of cotton for Victoria's Secret comes from this region, the company has issued a response, vowing to investigate the situation. In its statement, the company explains the original goals of the program in the region:
In 2007, we established a pilot program to purchase Fairtrade-certified organic cotton from primarily women farmers in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa that struggles with endemic poverty. We were committed to this initiative because of its potential to generate life-changing opportunities for some of the world's poorest women.
In the statement, Victoria's Secret maintains its "goal of improving the lives of women and children in a country where a large portion of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. "
- If you're a Victoria's secret customer, does the news affect your buying decisions? Does the company's response affect your buying decisions?
- Read Victoria's Secret entire response. What do you consider the strongest and weakest arguments presented? How do you assess the company's focus on their goals of helping women and children?