Thursday, August 08, 2019
How could a shoe company be involved in a long-term crisis? If it had a tannery and used dangerous water-proofing chemicals on its shoes. This is the headache Wolverine Worldwide is suffering in its home town of nearly 140 years. The company regrets the problems it is facing and is suing the vendor of the chemical, 3M, for compensation. It's a fair bet that if Wolverine wins, the money will go to remediation. Almost certainly when 3M sold the chemical, it wasn't aware of its toxicity, and when Wolverine used it, it thought it was providing its Hush Puppy customers with a differentiating advantage. But good intentions aren't enough in the long run. The companies today have serious reputation issues and ongoing negative PR. One might say it isn't fair, but the counter from the citizens of the town would be, "Is it fair that we are poisoned?" There is no good answer except an extensive and expensive clean-up.