chapter  8
16 Pages

Lululemon’s commitment to the environment: a tangle of seaweed, suppliers, and social responsibility

WithAndrea Erin Bass, Rebecca J. Morris

It was the morning of Wednesday, November 14, 2007. The article on the front page of the New York Times Business Section read ‘“Seaweed” clothing has none, tests show.’ The story asserted that one of Lululemon’s product lines, Vitasea®, which purported to contain a seaweed fiber designed to release marine amino acids, minerals, and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture, contained no such element. Both Chip Wilson, Chairman and Founder of athletic wear retailer Lululemon, and Robert Meers, Lululemon’s CEO, were about to embark on their first damage-control mission since the company’s Initial Public Offering in July. This was the most widespread negative press Lululemon had received since going public, and the aftermath of the article would question Lululemon’s product integrity, marketing and strategy, suppliers, and ethics. Lululemon’s next move would be crucial to both its survival and reputation.