West Virginia University Joins Other Schools in Questioning Alliance With Badger Sportswear
When the Associated Press last month issued a report detailing shipments from a Chinese labor camp to a U.S. apparel supplier, Promo Marketing looked at higher learning institutions’ decision to part ways with the goods provider, Badger Sportswear, concluding our analysis by mentioning the possibility that other schools might likewise end their alliance. Three weeks later, West Virginia University has chosen to explore the future of its relationship with Badger Sportswear, even as the apparel wholesaler has vowed to stop doing business with the Chinese apparel supplier from which the suspect goods were sourced.
Wished more businesses can be like US Badger Sportswear, refrain from buying services from forced labor camps in Xinjiang China . https://t.co/ZSHrgDDbFF
— wee (@GreaselyWee) January 11, 2019
This week, Badger Sportswear, said it wd "no longer source any product" fr #Xinjiang-based supplier Hetian Taida [saying] historical documentation was insufficient & so it was severing the relationship based on "abundance of caution."
— The Interested Layperson🌹📚#SOSHK🇭🇰 #abolish112 (@LeniDiamond) January 12, 2019
Having, via its website, chosen to distance itself from the Xinjang region-based Hetian Taida, Badger Sportswear finds under attack its mission to “strive to adhere to the highest manufacturing standards,” with schools such as the universities of Evansville and Maine deeming the AP report damning to their business arrangement with the supplier. While West Virginia University has not elected to abandon its affiliation with Badger Sportswear, who provides apparel to the location through an IMG College Licensing agreement, it has easily become the most high-profile school to question its partner’s practices.
That doubt, which a Dominion Post article has given no timeline regarding the resolution of, is robust, no matter how vehemently Badger Sportswear professes that “One percent or less of our products were sourced from Hetian Taida.” The perplexed state in which West Virginia University finds itself stems from the AP’s investigation into the Chinese government’s forcing an estimated one million Uighur and Kazakh detainees to work in food and manufacturing industries. When the body determined that Hetian Taida apparel had ended up shipped from inside an internment camp to Badger Sportswear, the backlash became immediate.
The Dominion Post’s account of the West Virginia University matter includes a comment by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who stated that Badger Sportswear based its decision on “misinformation.” Since the American business also adds on its website that its “Quality for All” mission has helped it become “the trusted supplier to team dealers, decorators and apparel wholesalers throughout the U.S,” one wonders if West Virginia University will consider the other schools’ moves and the AP report enough to sever its connection with Badger Sportswear or if it will see the company’s condemnation of Hetian Taida as suitable justification to continue to make apparel deals with it.