Ikea used forced prison labour to make furniture—headline in The Independent.
On Thursday it was business as usual at Ikea. On Friday the results of an independent investigation by Ernst & Young revealed that in the 1980s political prisoners in the former East Germany provided some of the labor that helped Ikea keep its prices so low.
This shocking revelation is making news around the world, and Ikea is in damage control mode. According to a story in The New York Times, ‘The use of political prisoners as forced labor, even decades ago, is a publicity disaster for a company that with its familiar blue and yellow logo seems at times like a cultural ambassador for Sweden.’
‘We deeply regret that this could happen. The use of political prisoners in production has never been acceptable to the Ikea Group. At the time, we didn’t have today’s well-developed control system and obviously didn’t do enough to prevent such production conditions among our former GDR suppliers,’ says Jeanette Skielmose, sustainability manager at Ikea of Sweeden.
There are three reasons that every large global corporation teeters at the edge of a reputational cliff. First, employees, consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders are holding corporations to higher and higher standards. Second, there’s a growing movement of socially conscious citizens, especially younger people, who are deeply concerned that too many people are still living in unacceptable social and economic conditions. And third, easier access to information and the ability to share information quickly means that inappropriate behavior can’t be hidden for long.
Full Article is Here.