We take full responsibility
21 February 2016
To all of our customers... We appreciate the concern that the article published today by Fairfax Media Limited regarding Rip Curl ski wear made in North Korea may have caused you. The Founders and Directors of Rip Curl take full responsibility for this screw up. We are very sorry that Rip Curl has breached the trust our customers put in us to make sure that the products they wear cause them no moral concern. That's our responsibility to you and we have let you down on this one.
We were made aware of this some months ago and took immediate steps to investigate and rectify the situation. All of our suppliers know that our terms of trade prevent them diverting production to non-certified factories and we do undertake factory inspections and audits to try to prevent this happening. In this case we took immediate action to discipline the supplier for his breach and we are increasing our inspections and audits.
Regardless of this, two styles totalling 4000 units of Rip Curl ski wear did slip through and was shipped to customers.
Again, this sort of screw up is our responsibility to prevent and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it does not happen again. We don't like the abuse of people in their jobs in any country either and apologise wholeheartedly for letting this happen in the first place.
Update - February 27, 2016. As promised we have continued to clean up the mess made by the production of some Rip Curl mountainwear in an unauthorized factory in North Korea. Contrary to their previous advice, our supplier has now told us they sub-contracted a total of seven styles of mountainwear to a third party without our knowledge or approval. It is these sub-contracted styles that have been produced or part-produced in North Korea. The styles consist of three styles from Winter 2014/15 and four styles from Winter 15/16 ranges.
We can confirm to you that the styles in question were delivered only within Europe, Australia, Canada, Argentina and Chile, and also that not all styles delivered have been shipped from our warehouses to our customers as we have managed to stop some of them.
With this new information becoming available from our supplier, and taking on your comments, here are the steps we are taking to make things right;
- We have stopped working with the supplier.
- We are removing any remaining stocks of all seven styles from our stores, and will either destroy or donate the jackets to an appropriate charity as long as they are not sold. They are: SGJAM4, SGJAQ4, SGJBL4, SGJBE4, SGJBI4, SGJBM4, SGPAI4.
- We are offering a full refund or replacement to any customer who has purchased one of the unauthorized styles and they should take it to the Rip Curl store nearest to them to do so or contact their local Rip Curl office.
- We are strongly reinforcing to our suppliers that they may not outsource production without our approval.
- To ensure our suppliers comply with our requirements we are significantly increasing our inspections of goods as they are being produced to ensure they are made in an approved factory.
- We are still calculating the exact profit on the sale of the product concerned. We are going to get our staff in the regions where this product was offered for sale to nominate appropriate charities to which this money can be put to good use and will announce that here shortly.
So why didn’t we do all of the above earlier? We trusted our supplier and they did not tell us the truth. We should have acted earlier and more aggressively at the time. The extent of the issue was wider than we had been led to believe. We now know that a maximum of seven styles were outsourced and to be safe we have assumed they were all impacted.
With this new information we have re-assessed the situation and are taking the above action. We are very sorry that Rip Curl has breached the trust of our customers and we apologise wholeheartedly for letting this happen in the first place.