Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Ugly and Disgusting Chapter in the History of the Ikea Company

And No, No One Should Ever Buy Their Products Again

It took a great Civil War to abolish slave labor in the United States, in what was thought to be the last vestige of slavery in western nations.  It now turns out that slave labor was used in East Germany to manufacture products for Ikea.  Ikea’s response, well maybe they are a little bit sorry but exploiting slave labor was not their official strategy!

“We deeply regret that this could happen,” Jeanette Skjelmose, sustainability manager at Ikea, said in a statement.

Notice that the company says it was sorry, with words you say when you accidentally step on a cat’s tail, not words you say when you have profited from the labor of political prisoners.  And notice also what Ikea intends to do about it. 

Ikea said Friday it was sorry about the episodes and pledged to donate money to research on forced labor in the former East Germany.

What’s missing there?  Well no intent to track down the victims, compensate the men and women forced to labor for Ikea’s profit.

And yes, Ikea is still involved in a cover-up.

There was praise that the company had made an effort to uncover unpleasant facts about its past, but also criticism that it had not been transparent enough with the results. Rather than releasing the entire report, the company made only a four-page summary available, citing privacy concerns.

Ah yes, privacy concerns.  Ikea certainly wouldn’t want their privacy violated, but has no problem with violation of basic rights and liberties.

Of course, maybe here is some of their ‘privacy concerns’.

A purchaser for the company said that “the use of prison labor was not an official Ikea strategy, but that there was an awareness within the company about the issue.”

Wonderful, the company did not have a strategy of using forced labor by political prisoners.  Well that’s good enough for us, everybody should reward the company with increased patronage.  Or, everybody should send a message and refuse to ever buy anything from Ikea ever again.  That might send a better message.

1 comment: