Ikea Child Labour Case Essay

2508 words - 10 pages

The Swedish company IKEA designs and sells reasonably priced, 'ready to assemble' furniture. The company is on the way to becoming the world's largest furniture retailer (Normann and Ramirez, 1993). In 1994, IKEA were first confronted with the issue of child labour in Pakistan, following accusations from a Swedish television documentary that IKEA suppliers were using child labour in the production of carpets. One year later, in 1995, a German documentary producer notified the company that a documentary would be broadcasted on television exposing the use of child labourers in Rangan Exports, one of IKEA's carpet suppliers. At that moment, IKEA were dealing with the previous accusations and trying to manage the unethical issues occurring in its suppliers. The documentary producer notified IKEA about the documentary and invited IKEA to send a representative to the broadcast. IKEA were denied a preview of the documentary. An assessment is needed of how IKEA should best react to this situation. We will begin by analyzing the documentary producer's request of IKEA to appear at the broadcast. Recommendations will then be provided regarding the relationship with Rangan Exports. A final strategy advising IKEA on the sourcing of carpets will be provided and a framework to avoid similar issues in the future will be advised.Response to the broadcast invitationRegarding the response to the invitation to have an IKEA representative appear on the broadcast, we recommend that Marianne Barner, IKEA Business Area Manager for carpets, should not accept the proposal.There are three main factors that support this suggestion. Firstly, it is clear from the confrontational and aggressive approach that the video is targeting IKEA and its supplier specifically (Bartlett, 2006). The appearance of IKEA representative at the program is probably part of the media strategy to directly attack the company. Secondly, the video content cannot be previewed prior the broadcast of the television program. The German producer sent an invitation to IKEA to participate in the discussion while refusing them permission to see the video beforehand. The company only received still shots which claimed to be taken from the video. In this situation, IKEA cannot prepare any response prior the broadcast. Obviously, the discussion and debate will be unbalanced as one party doesn't have all the information. Thirdly, it is not clear what the documentary producer's objectives are, whether he is seeking to draw public attention to child labour, to attack IKEA specifically or to gain his own publicity for the documentary. IKEA doesn't have anything to gain from the direct confrontation. It would only give more importance to the broadcast and would be seen as an acknowledgement to the work produced by the documentary producer. Isabelle et al (2002) highlighted one among four predominant purchasing-related issues; the respect of human and worker's rights by suppliers; As a result, there is no doubt that...

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