Sierra Club Tells Dollar General and Target to Make Change in China

Monday, July 30, 2007 1:00
Posted in category From the Factory Floor
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With the last few months of quality issues focused on individual products: pet food, seafood, toys, tires, etc. However, it appears that the fight has been taken to another level as the Sierra Club has issued a statement that they will hold Target and Dollar General (a KKR holding) accountable for products they have found to have high lead quanities.

According to Reuters:

The Sierra Club has notified 10 U.S. companies that imported or distributed toys, children’s jewelry and other products from China containing potentially hazardous levels of lead that it will sue after 60 days if the firms don’t file reports with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Why this is important is that this press release, and potential lawsuit, seems to be the first real effort to treat the U.S. firm as the primary bearer of responsibility in their distribution of unsafe goods (This is not Dollar General’s first exposure to products with lead paint issues). In all other cases I have seen, it was the Chinese suppliers who took the brunt of the blame.


Additionally, this press release is important as it shows that consumer rights groups and NGOs like Sierra Club are beginning to look at products now to see what product safety issues may exist, and hold firms to account publicly.

For firms who have yet to see the recent scandals as a catalyst for increasing their quality control, consider the fact that the Chicago Tribune is now reporting that RC2 estimates it will cost them 8 million USD as part of this recall. EVen if your budget were 350,000-400,000 (1 expat manager with family, 2-3 local hires, office rental, and other admin cost), it would take 20 years to spend 8 million dollars.

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