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WSJ News Exclusive | North Face Owner Pulled Xinjiang Criticism, Then Reinstated It

The move by VF, which also owns Vans and Timberland, shows the difficulty brands face in catering to Western consumers and China.

6/21/2021 10:30:00 AM

The owner of The North Face quietly took down a statement raising concern about allegations of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. Then, after executives deliberated, it put up a new statement reaffirming its stance.

The move by VF, which also owns Vans and Timberland, shows the difficulty brands face in catering to Western consumers and China.

Inc.also removed or altered similar statements, according to the Journal analysis of the websites of major publicly listed fashion companies. The Journal compared their websites this month with previous versions saved on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine dating to before the H&M boycott.

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Alexander Shapiro, a Beijing-based branding consultant, said three other Western companies enlisted him to help them remove supply-chain statements that could offend the Chinese government by appearing to be lecturing Beijing. “What you don’t want to do is dictate,” he said. Mr. Shapiro said the companies, which he declined to name, were in the fashion, automotive and consumer-electronics industries.

After VF took down its statement, executives quickly reconsidered, according to people familiar with the matter. In less than a day, the company decided to reverse course and publicly reaffirm its concerns over Xinjiang in a new but shorter statement.

Another person familiar with the matter said VF always intended to republish its statement after a brief suspension amid the H&M backlash.A week later, Sean Cady, a VF executive overseeing the company’s responsibility initiatives, sent an email to a nonprofit labor-rights monitoring group called the Worker Rights Consortium. In the email, Mr. Cady said VF “temporarily” removed its Xinjiang statement “out of an abundance of caution” but publicly reaffirmed its position within 24 hours. The email, which was circulated among advocacy groups and shared online by one of them, said VF is maintaining its nearly two-year-old position of not sourcing any products or materials from Xinjiang.

“Forced labor is not tolerated in any tier of our supply chain,” wrote Mr. Cady. “We will not compromise our commitment to human rights as a result of external pressure in any form, including potential commercial impacts.”China accounts for 7% of VF’s sales, according to the company’s 2020 annual report.

Spain-based Inditex, which operates Zara, Massimo Dutti and other brands, previously had posted a statement on its website saying it was concerned about social and labor “malpractice” alleged in Xinjiang. That statement was removed after the H&M boycott and hasn’t been reinstated.

L Brands, which operates Bath & Body Works and recently announcedplans to spin off Victoria’s Secret, said on its website earlier this year that it was committed to eliminating forced labor, including in Xinjiang. Its website has since deleted the reference to Xinjiang.

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After removing its original statement about its concerns over Xinjiang, PVH, which owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Izod and other brands, put up a shorter one that said PVH follows U.S. laws with regards to Xinjiang. The U.S. government

unless the importers can demonstrate they weren’t produced using forced labor.H&M never took down its statement, and its chief executive publiclya few days later. The company is still largely absent from the Chinese internet. H&M hasn’t disclosed what effect the boycott has had on sales.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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jeffreychngo Chinese people in remote counties are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party to praise the CCP!CCP 如果把红色换成白色,就有意思了!🤣🤣 Variable geometry ethics: if your ethics depends on the most profitable tactical media stance on any given moment., then you you do not have ethics. Though spot for VF: enrage the Chinese vs infuriate the Western consumers.

Good dont forget ever 2protect those deprived of safety in a World of so many, there should be no suffering. Yet-people dont generally work 2help but instead 2take away &stop others is what so many are doing. Gov rich in our Country USA are leading with this outrageous attempt. Ok just to be clear.. We’re positive we don’t have any factories, packaging services or anything that could make us look bad? No Ok cool, let’s re-issue that statement

Woke thenorthface has become an ordinary mass producer with ordinary products for masses. Once there used to be an idea of long lasting hyperfunctional gear that became legends and classics in their league. It’s time for North Face and hundreds of other companies stop manufacturing in China and either bring it back to USA or set up factories in Northern Triangle Countries: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to help alleviate our border crisis.

Trade w/ CCP's China is never fair, they pay much but they need not only your product, the price is including buying freedom of ppl (like Uighur & HK), dignity, techniques (for counterfeit) & your support in their dictatorship. It's time to find a new trade partner. Taking down totalitarian is the only way to save universal values and democracy supporters!!

Why west not talk about Kashmir where India brutally genociding Kashmiri women's and children's such a hypocrisy.

Deadly tropical depression Claudette expected to strengthen over North CarolinaDEVELOPING: Tropical depression Claudette, which triggered destructive tornadoes on the Gulf Coast and is linked to a car crash that left 10 people dead in Alabama, is forecast to strengthen over North Carolina, officials say.

Support Global to execute the sanctions and Military action of CCP. CCP_is_terrorist FreeHongKong FreeUyghurs UyghurGenocide XinjiangCotton Cowards. Don’t buy their product. wanna earn decent money, it must be a decent business without playing politics whatever the shareholders agree with is fine 没证据就不要乱吠

Evidence the US is behind the terrorism in Xinjiang. The US and Al Qaeda remains partners in Syria. Watch 'Former hostage responds to top diplomat calling Al Qaeda a US 'asset' in Syria' on YouTube The US wanted to use Al Qaeda to attack China in Xinjiang but got 9/11 instead. Hard to teach old dogs new tricks.

The Western Media, BBC, CNN, Al JAZEERA, Fox News, Sky News etc and their coordination in demonising China and others with fake new. take the hit stand your ground

Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina riverIsiah Crawford was found in the Dan River. Another tuber, Teresa Villano, 35, was still missing after a recreational float went over a dam.. My thoughts and prayers are with that girl's family 😩

Senator Mitch McConnell, his wife, Elaine Chao, and her powerful family in China can help millions who are imprisoned in concentration camps in Xinjiang province. Elaine Chao has the influence to stop the systematic genocide in China.

New U.S. envoy for North Korea says looks forward to 'positive response' on dialogueThe United States' new top envoy for North Korea said on Monday he looks forward to a 'positive response soon' on dialogue from North Korea, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, during his Seoul trip to meet counterparts from South Korea and Japan. Goodluck north Korea 🙏 for your survival Hope you blow South Korea bank up

North Korea attempted to hack South Korea's nuclear think tank, lawmaker saysA North Korean hacker group allegedly broke into South Korea's nuclear research center last month, marking the latest in a series of cyberattack attempts, a South Korean lawmaker says. good luck Again, don't hook it up to the internet, problem solved. When it's not Russia then blame on NorthKorea or China. WTF theory is that USA. That's how you sell fear to ur citizens to win elections 😐.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for North Carolina as Claudette continues across SoutheastA tropical storm warning has been issued for large swaths of the North Carolina coast as Tropical Depression Claudette continues to dump heavy rain across much of the southeastern US Calhoun County remains under a flash . The National Weather Service issued a series of possible tornado warnings Saturday morning in north Florida and south Alabama . The best is yet to come, it must be a right path, prepare the names, there will be many 😉

WSJ News Exclusive | How Five Hong Kong Protesters Escaped by Speedboat, Found Freedom in the U.S.Three men fleeing prosecution for their roles in Hong Kong pro-democracy protests describe their escape by speedboat—and how they made it to freedom in the U.S. thanks funny Let these stupid people enjoy the 'freedom' of America.