Australian furniture retailer Koala, renowned for its signature mattress and ethos of sustainability, has faced criticism for moving some of its items to China for manufacturing.
Koala is a Sydney-based company that has achieved popularity by marketing itself to millennials as an ethical and sustainable bedding choice made in Australia via social media.
Australians took to the company’s Facebook page after the announcement to complain about the decision. Many of the comments were questions about how Koala will remain Australia’s environmentally friendly or welcoming once it transfers production to China, which was recently mentioned in the news about concerns about the use of exploited Chinese labour to build trains for Victoria.
One individual, Melanie Martin, wrote: “What’s environmentally conscious about sending more freighters into the oceans or planes in the sky to deliver these products? I personally don’t give a toss where a product is designed; I care where it is made.”
Another online user, Tina Walters, wrote:“With the current climate every business should be promoting Australian made products, but I guess your bottom line is more important than helping Aussie families keep their current jobs with your company and more about promoting slave labour with Chinese workers for more profits.”
The decision to go to China instead of Taiwan, India , Bangladesh or Indonesia has been challenged by others.
Responding to the backlash, the company wrote on Facebook: “We hear you, and understand.”
“Our rapid global growth has led to the decision to consolidate the manufacturing of a number of our products in more strategically supportive locations, creating synergies that will help to drive our continued growth across Asia Pacific,” it wrote on Facebook.