By  on April 26, 1994

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you want to sell to L.L. Bean, you better clean up your act.

Environmental considerations rank equally with Quick Response and quality, an executive of L.L. Bean warned textile leaders meeting here. Lack of environmental soundness by a supplier, or even by that supplier's supplier, could cost it the Bean account, he added.

"We have stopped doing business with at least one vendor because of environmental problems, and we have started doing business with some companies because of environmental advancements," said David Mention, Bean's manager of process improvement, a speaker at the American Textile Manufacturers Institute's annual meeting, which concluded here Saturday.

In other convention news, Rep. John Spratt (D., S.C), chairman of the Congressional Textile Caucus, said in an interview he thinks the GATT Uruguay Round treaty will eventually pass Congress, "but I wouldn't bet on it right now."

"Much remains to be seen. There is opposition to GATT and it is widespread," said Spratt. "I think the trade unions will oppose it, and there probably will be a broad-based coalition formed to fight it.

"It is very early to tell how it will shape up," Spratt added. "I don't think most members of the House have really begun to think about it yet."

Spratt conceded that although the ATMI was not officially opposing it, individual textile leaders are. Roger Milliken, chairman of Milliken & Co., as reported, expressed grave concern at an ATMI board meeting here about the World Trade Organization, which will take over administration of global trade laws after the final GATT is signed into law.

Spratt's Congressional district in South Carolina includes Spartanburg, Milliken & Co.'s headquarters. Some people refer to it as "Milliken's district."

Asked if he shared Milliken's concern about WTO, Spratt said, "I am concerned about how it is set up and the lack of recourse we have in trade disputes. But I am not fully informed about WTO."

Further underscoring the importance of environmental considerations, Bean's Mention said he was meeting with 21 major Bean suppliers, who "account for between one-third and one-half of our supply" to discuss their commitment to the environment. The company is also surveying its suppliers on that issue.

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