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Woolworths to donate profits from baby carriers and pay back Ubuntu Baba

Feb 08 2019 17:26
Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

Woolworths will not be keeping the profits it made from the sale of baby carriers similar to those of a Cape Town-based small business, Ubuntu Baba.

This is according to a joint-statement issued by Woolworths and Ubuntu Baba on Friday afternoon, after the parties reached a resolution.

Founder of Ubuntu Baba Shannon McLaughlin in January blogged about how Woolworths appeared to have copied her baby carrier product.

Following an investigation Woolworths admitted there were "striking similarities" between the products and subsequently pulled the baby carriers from shelves.

The retailer later said it would also remove Woolworths branding from the carriers and donate the carriers to under-resourced communities.

The parties continued to engage on proposals for the development of small businesses.

As part of the joint-statement on Friday, Woolworths announced it would not be "retaining any profits" from the baby carrier sales. It would donate a "large portion" of those proceeds to a "credible institution" to educate, support and develop small businesses in SA.

"The remaining proceeds will be paid to Ubuntu Baba." No amounts were mentioned. 

The retailer said it would also be putting in place measures to avoid a similar incidents in the future.

"Some examples of these enhanced measures include an Intellectual Property e-learning module to ensure enterprise-wide reach of training, increasing Intellectual Property training to Woolworths employees and all relevant suppliers, and to explore additional systems functionality to support these measures," the statement read.

Woolworths added that investigations into two employees who ordered Ubuntu baba carriers found they had done so in their personal capacity, as "legitimate mothers-to-be". 

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