Apple story – Understanding your consumption

The apple story seem to continue to fascinate people and professionals. Even though that Foxconn is not only producing products for Apple that have become the all-time favorite when it comes to poor ethics management and lack of efficient control systems.

It is quite interesting that people can disregard corporate behavior if the brand of a company is strong enough. Most of my own students use Apple products and they are never surprised when I talk about the ethics record of the company. However, this knowledge does not seem to change their willingness to buy their products. Maybe because there is a wide consensus that most of the production facilities making hardware products in China are more or less branded as being in violation of Labour and Human Rights it does not hit Apple as hard. So while we know that Apple is in violation of these Rights at least we know what they are doing and at least it gives us some idea about their actions.

I received this quite informative infographic from Tony Shin, which I think highlight the case quite good. I know that some of my friends that specialize in Chines working conditions would regards some of theses issues as being quite “normal” and not really seen as a big issue inside China. However, the infrographic from Tony does give a opportunity for customers to gain knowledge about how their consumer goods are produced.

Created by: Tony Shin

Companies accused of using modern day slavery are being named

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) issued a statement asking 27 companies to help abolish modern slavery and Human trafficking. A issues that is becoming more and more relevant not only in the area of prostitution but also in relation to the everyday products that we use.

In accordance with the Parlermo protocol human trafficking is defined as

ACT: Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring and/or receipt of a person.

MEANS: It can include the threat or use of force, deception, abduction, the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability, or other form of coercion.

PURPOSE: The purpose of human trafficking is exploitation, which can include the prostitution of others, forced labor, slavery or servitude.

The ICCR have issued a statement that prescribes a number of steps that companies can take in order to avoid slavery and human trafficking being a part of their supply chain. While the list is far from complete it does highlight a part of globalization, which we often do not hear and to some extend, have not listen too. ICCR asks companies and organisations alike to adopt a due diligence approach which incorporate the following eight steps :

1. A policy stating the company’s commitment to respect human rights;

2. An assessment of actual and potential human rights impacts, including human trafficking and modern day slavery;

3. Integration of the policy and corresponding assessment into internal oversight systems and monitoring programs;

4. Training of employees, contractors and vendors;

5. A clause in contracts with suppliers, host-government agreements and joint ventures stating a common repudiation of human trafficking to ensure that their conduct is consistent with human rights standards.

6. Alliances with appropriate authorities including police, anti-trafficking organizations, child welfare agencies and public-private partnerships with governmental and international institutions;

7. Contribution to the prevention of trafficking, including awareness raising and educational campaigns;

8. Annual public reports on performance.

The list of companies that are being asked to implement and live by these guidelines are Apple and Foxconn which recently were involved in implementing slave like working conditions at Foxconn City in China.

You can find the complete list here.