Letter Exchange With President of Nordstrom

Letter Exchange between boycott supporter Annraoi O and Blake Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom, a U.S. department store chain that is “committed to social responsibility,” October - November, 2011

From: Annraoi O.
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2011 7:08 AM
To: Nordstrom, Blake
Cc: Black, Laurie; Tritton, Mark
Subject: Nordstrom and CSR

Dear Blake:

Thank you for forwarding my email to Tara Darrow, asking her to respond on your behalf. Tara has indeed responded very promptly, reiterating the line that Nordstrom has "no plans at this time to change our relationship with Ahava".

I have asked her if it was your personal view that Nordstrom should continue to build a relationship with a company that operates a mineral/mud excavation site in the Occupied West Bank, in contravention of the Geneva Conventions. She may or may not pass on this question to you.

Although Ahava has denied this consistently, the Israeli government (specifically, Amos Wagner, Second Lieutenant, Public Inquiries
Officer, The Prime Minister's Office) has recently confirmed that "in the jurisdiction of the Megilot Dead Sea Regional Council there is only one site that practices mining or quarrying. In this site, mud mining permissions were given to the company Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd."

Megilot is in the Occupied West Bank, and Dead Sea Laboratories is
Ahava. Amos Wagner further confirms that as of the date of his letter
(26 April 2011), "the mentioned site is operational today, and is used, as said, for the mining of mud".

Nordstrom last conducted an audit of Ahava's operations BEFORE Amos Wagner's confirmation that Ahava conducts excavation operations within the Occupied West Bank. Surely, it is time for Nordstrom to re-audit
Ahava's operations?

Best regards, Annraoi

On 31 Oct 2011, at 21:03, "Nordstrom, Blake" wrote:

I just met with Tara once again regarding the communications you've
had with our company of late concerning Ahava. Though I appreciate your recognition of their efforts and sincere desire to answer your questions, I'm sorry that we appear to have a different view on this situation. Please know it's our sincere desire as merchants to conduct our business in the manner our customers and employees alike would expect. We're not lawyers, but we want to abide by all laws and regulations, as well as being able to stand behind our goods and services in all cases.

Please know that we have spent more time and energy on this particular vendor and product than any other I can think of. Though we carry literally thousands of different vendors and this particular one is very small, we have gone to great lengths from some inquiries awhile back from some concerned customers like yourself that raised questions as to its origin and production. Laurie and her team, along with Linda and Tara, worked with Robert Sari, our general counsel, along with other representatives outside of Nordstrom, to conduct a review of this product. They are satisfied that they are in compliance, so we continue to carry the product under that information. This is not something we take lightly, and will continue to monitor it.

That said, I did tell Tara on behalf of Nordstrom to let you know that we will probably have to agree to disagree at this point, given that you may view this differently.

Blake Nordstrom

From: Annraoi O
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 1:37 AM
To: Nordstrom, Blake
Cc: Black, Laurie; Tritton, Mark; Darrow, Tara; Peffer, Linda; Sari,
Subject: Re: Nordstrom and CSR


Thank you for taking the time to respond personally to an 80-year-old man on the far side of the pond. Even if your response was not the one I hoped for, I do accept that you and your company have spent time investigating the bona fides of Ahava, and that I am unlikely to persuade you to change your mind.

Can you answer one final question? It will be my last - I promise - as I am genuinely confused by Nordstrom's stance on this issue.

My difficultly is in understanding how Ahava is in compliance with Nordstrom's CSR policies. It seems to me that either:

A) Nordstrom does not accept that Ahava has an active mud excavation site in the Megillot region of the Occupied West Bank, which is in contravention of the Geneva Conventions which forbid the exploitation of natural resources in occupied territories, or
B) Nordstrom does accept that Ahava is in contravention of the Geneva
Conventions but its CSR policy is more focused on employment conditions and ethics, and that Ahava is therefore technically compliant.

I trust you can probably see my difficulty here.

Many thanks again for your time and your prompt response.

Respectfully, Annraoi

On 1 Nov 2011, at 22:39, "Nordstrom, Blake" wrote:

On behalf of our team, let me try to reiterate that we have strived to answer your questions to the best of our ability. This matter is complicated because of political ramifications as well, which as merchants is not something we're going to weigh in on.

We've done all that we can to make sure that this is a legally compliant product under US law and meets our standards including human rights as well.

Blake Nordstrom

From: Annraoi O
Date: 3 November 2011 07:52:55 GMT
To: "Nordstrom, Blake"

Subject: Re: Nordstrom and CSR


I have to accept your position, even though I fail to understand the logic of it.

Thank you for your responses. I will not email you or the Nordstrom CSR team again but I do hope that, in time, Nordstrom will embrace a CSR policy that is genuinely socially responsible.

Regards, Annraoi