Final Blog – Shein

Transparency is the visibility and accessibility of information about a company, especially relating to business practices. It is important for companies to be transparent with their audience to gain trust from consumers and build their brand on the foundation of being open about the way things operate. Shein is a fast-fashion company founded by Chris Xu and the company does not have open transparency because of the lack of information regarding their labor practices and environmental impacts of their production methods. 

Fast fashion companies take design elements from top house brands and reproduce them quickly and cheaply. This makes it easy for consumers to shop on-trend clothing quickly and for a low cost. The environmental impact of fast fashion companies like Shein is huge. The use of cheap, toxic textile dyes makes the fashion industry the second largest polluter of clean water globally after agriculture. However, on the Shein website, they claim to be turning to sustainable practices to help the planet which is untrue and lacks transparency. Their practices in no way help the environment, only hurt it by contributing to global warming and creating massive textile waste due to the cheap material Shein’s clothes are made out of. 

Additionally, Shein lacks transparency due to the lack of information regarding wages, hours, and working conditions. There is no evidence that Shein is actively engaging in child labor, but there is also no evidence that they are not. They have yet to disclose any information about their working conditions and supply chain to the government which they are required to do by law. The company’s ultra-low prices and lack of transparency have caused organizations like the Worker Rights Consortium and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to question Shein’s business practices and investigate the brand. Although Shein provides a Code of Conduct on their website, there is no proof that the company is keeping in line with it. Everything listed is great business practices to have, but with the lack of information Shein is willing to provide, it raises skepticism as to why they are not disclosing this information. If there was nothing to hide, Shein would be open to providing all the information they are required to by law. However, the lack of transparency leads the public and the government to believe that their business practices are unethical and that is why they are not being transparent. 

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FINAL BLOG: Group 3

Nicole Schenone, Max Brennan, Joe Thornt, Olivia

My group and I chose to present the transparency of the brand, Patagonia. Patagonia is an American Clothing Company that was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973. The company is based in California. They have hundreds of stores worldwide. They are currently in 10 countries across 5 continents. The reason that Patagonia is a transparent company is because they are very open with their consumers. They provide resources such as the Patagonia Footprint website which has a number of videos, stories and awareness about their brand as a whole. They give shoppers an inside on how they recycle and how it makes their brand so unique. The meaning behind the name of the website is to show how the brand reduces their carbon footprint allowing them to be as sustainable as possible. 

The brand gives one the accessibility they need to see the motive behind the name, Patagonia. The products are reasonably priced considering how many steps the article of clothing goes through before being put out and sold. Videos that we showed to the class describe how a big factor for patagonia is marketing and this leaves potential consumers happy knowing that they can look up the brand and see them being open to the person, turning them into a consumer of the product. This is one of the reasons as to why Patagonia is such a successful company, they give their customers the inside allowing them to see their ups and downs. 

My group and I made sure to connect the transparency of the brand to the content that we have been learning in class and from the professor. We were able to connect Ted Talk Speaker Simon Sinek’s thoughts on communication to show how the company is successful from the inside – out. My group and I also used fashion indexes to show how they are one of the many companies that are transparent. Patagonia happens to fall in the top 50% which means their company is rated “good.”

Overall, Patagonia is a generally transparent company with a strong message about protecting the environment and maintaining eco-friendly practices. The company produces environmentally friendly products and encourages activism amongst its supporters. Due to Patagonia’s transparency, consumers are able to make an educated decision about the company and its practices themselves. Consumers who do purchase Patagonia products likely align themselves with the beliefs of the company, giving Patagonia a strong base of supporters who trust the company. 

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FINAL BLOG

Last week we met with Professor Buschman and he gave us many suggestions so that we could improve our presentation on Whole Foods. He suggested adding short videos and images, bringing products for the class to compare, lessening my words on the slides so the focus would be on us, and speaking about personal experiences that relate to transparency. He als0 made the point to look into whether the controversies began before or after Amazon bought Whole Food, to our surprise the lawsuits began not even after 20 years after it was founded. We took these suggestions and incorporated them into our presentation. We also found a similar company that is dealing with more catastrophic consequences due to a lack of transparency. We decided to tie into the presentation as an introduction. Kellog’s has a very different social media persona than in real life. Many of their workers are on strike for abusive work conditions, no time off, and benefits cuts, despite record-breaking profits. It relates to the presentation because there is one figure making all the money while the people below suffer, the video below shows that. In our presentation that person would be Jeff Bezos

To show the lack of transparency from Whole Food towards its customers and employees we researched different Class Action Lawsuits that they’ve had filed against them for years. We decided to only present three even though they had too many to count. We also talked about the change in ownership of the company and how that affected and changed the company either for good or bad. We tied the situation with Whole Foods to Chapter 10 of our book because the chapter addresses leadership in companies and the different types of leadership styles there are as well as planned and unplanned change.

After all of the research that we did, we got to the conclusion that Whole Foods has a tendency to speak about being transparent, but when it comes to the quality of treatment towards employees and products they lack ethical processes. What we found is that Whole Foods does a really good job of covering their lawsuits and maintaining what seems like the perfect brand persona. They almost never address their lawsuits to try and avoid these mistakes in the future. They have been involved in discriminatory situations, false advertising, and having carcinogenic ingredients in their products among countless other lawsuits.  Americans trust this company because they think that they’re being given natural, organic, and quality products when this is all untrue for some products– their labels don’t conquer with the products. Whole Foods has a lot of pressure to keep their word and be as transparent as possible because they are dealing with people’s health and their products are for consumption. Their target audience is also people that watch their health so they are even more prone to argue about the products Whole Foods sells. What is your perception of Whole Foods now?

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Sept 29

As we researched companies that were transparent online, Whole Foods was on the list, so we began to dig deeper. We soon found out that it was not the company we have always thought of them to be. We wanted to choose a company that wasn’t transparent to produce a shock factor, since we can ask anybody what they think of Whole Foods they are most likely to talk about them in a positive light. The link below was used to debunk all of the values stated on their website. It pretty much holds our entire presentation’s argument that Whole Foods isn’t transparent, because it is so detailed with everything that is stated. I was very shocked to read some of the inexcusable actions Whole Foods allowed and supported.

https://www.streetroots.org/news/2020/07/03/opinion-i-work-whole-foods-and-i-am-calling-out-its-hypocrisy

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10/8 update:

This week for class we met with professor to discuss our presentation on Whole Foods and their lack of true transparency. We discussed options for how to display our presentation to our audience as well. We went over the importance of limiting the amount of words of the screen and challenging ourselves to be the main focal point while presenting. Our goal was to provide the proper common knowledge to our classmates to understand the lack of transparency that Whole Foods showed as an organization. We determined we would use the many law suits filed against Whole Foods for information for our claim. We plan to use the additional information we have collected to divide ourselves the proper work load and be able to provide more examples as to why Whole Foods lacks transparency. We also decided to connect our presentation to Chapter 10. I’ve posted an image that differentiates organic vs non-gmo, which is included in our presentation.

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Lush- Final Blog

After meeting with Professor Buschman last week, we took all the suggestions he gave us and added them into our presentation and talking points. He gave us good insights into what we can talk about in relation to our company and the industry, as well as adding videos and a class activity. We will also add what transparency is, our personal experiences with transparency and how it relates to our chosen company, and how the company demonstrates transparency and its significance. Implementing Professor B’s suggestions along with our own research, we are confident in our final presentation.

We were able to put all of our research and knowledge to create a presentation that shows Lush as an excellent example of a transparent company. Not only does the company provide consumers with the exact ingredients that go in their products, they also show them how they’re made and where they buy their ingredients. They also detail their philanthropic work and their recognition of problem areas, like lack of diversity, and how they can improve these areas.

Everything anyone would need or want to know about Lush, their company history, and their products is laid out on their website. This company was built on the idea of being transparent, and it just goes to show that when a company is honest and truthful, people are willing to pay a little more for their products.

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10/6 Weekly Update

Nicole, Joe, Max, Olivia

This week, our group has been very productive. My group and I were able to meet with Professor Buschman and get feedback on our presentation that we have ready for the class on October 13. This week, we were able to determine how exactly we wanted to present the brand Patagonia to the class. We were able to use all of our sources to gather information and be able to break down what transparency is, what makes it work and how the brand Patagonia is transparent with not only their customers but their workers as well. We are going to be showing many examples throughout our presentation, that help the viewer understand why Patagonia is a good example of “Good Transparency”

When we met with Professor Buschman, he was able to give us some good tips on how to improve our project. We were able to walk out of that meeting knowing what to change and what my group and I can do differently on the project in order for the presentation to be effective. We can conclude that we will be using; current events, movie examples, and examples of brands that are not transparent in order to stress to the viewer that Patagonia is a one of a kind brand that is transparent with their customers/workers.

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Lush Cosmetics

Founded in 1995, Lush is a cosmetics retailer based in the U.K. It has over 900 stores worldwide with most locations being the United States. The company has a wide range of products ranging from shower gels and shampoos to lotions and face masks, and most notable, their bath bombs. 

What sets this company aparts from all other cosmetic companies is their 100% transparency policy. Lush built its foundation on their “We Believe..” statement, claiming they only use vegetarian, safe ingredients, they invent their own products, do not participate in animal testing, and use little to no packaging. 

Through our research, we learned what a truly ethical and transparent company looks like and the success that follows them. On their website, under each product is an ingredient list with each ingredient labeled as natural ingredients or safe synthetics, which is all they claim to use in their products, no add-ins. Lush is also a brand that uses no advertising; they have relied heavily on word-of-mouth, and it’s worked. When a company ensures and provides great, natural products, people are going to share that with friends and family, who will then tell their friends and so on. They also do not label themselves as an ethical company, they let their actions speak for themselves. 

Lush is continuing to set the bar for other cosmetic companies on how being transparent and proving their ethical standards creates great success and trust with consumers.

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9/29 Weekly Update

Nicole Schenone, Max Brennan, Olivia Vanvelsor, Joseph Thornton

Our group had the chance to get together and decide on a brand to research. We chose Patagonia, the clothing company. We chose this company because we believe that this company in particular is extremely transparent with not only its workers but its customers as well. This company has a separate website that allows their consumers to see how their items are made and manufactured. My group and I have decided to create a slideshow and show pictures, videos taken from the website itself and even have some small interactive group activities for the class to take part in when we present. Not only will the presentation show students how transparent this company is but it will make them think twice before they go buy from a company before researching it. We will be using this website: https://www.patagonia.com/stories/introducing-the-new-footprint-chronicles-on-patagoniacom/story-18443.html as our main source in terms of showing the audience how transparent the company is. We do not have any questions for the professor as of right now since we have just been collecting data and brainstorming ideas for the presentation.

  • Nicole
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Amazon

Amazon is an is recorded to be the world’s largest online retailer. They are continually raising the bar for your customer experience by allowing you to find and buy anything from the comfort of your home. Because Amazon is such a popular company, customers often fail to see the transparency issues faced within this organization. It is known that Amazon has been involved with multiple incidents regarding unionist movements, racism, Covid-19, and the use, or rather misuse, of collected personal data.

Some things we have learned from research about Amazon is that they are unwilling to publicly address these problems. Instead, they tend to dismiss public criticism, and on occasion will avoid informing their own workers. Transparency is rare but so are hard workers, if Amazon decided to put the same energy into making their organization transparent there would not be so many upset employees.

Being a transparent company requires being straightforward about their company’s operations, and Amazon has unfortunately failed at doing this. For example, when it came to disclosing information about Covid-19, the company did not release the information on how many employees were displaying symptoms or had been exposed to the virus. A situation like that can create a harmful work environment that can become a safety hazard to everyone involved. 

Other questionable examples of how Amazon is not transparent would be the racism faced within the organization. According to data, about 85% of Amazon’s warehouse workers identify as black or African American. However, within the 26 years of Amazon there have only been two black directors on their team. This is unacceptable and unfair to those who work hard to receive promotions within this organization. 

Overall, Amazon may be a great company for instant gratification but lacks in being transparent with their employees. Perhaps if Amazon worked harder for openness between all employees, the public, and local and national governments it would not be facing a problem with transparency.

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