Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 4, 2012 10:01 AM
Since the late ‘70s, chocolate maker Nestle has had one group of customers so irate with it for allegedly misrepresenting the positives of breast-milk substitutes to uninformed consumers that they’ve been boycotting their products for decades. Now the company has another problem on its hands.
A study commissioned by Nestle found “numerous” violations of its “measures to combat child labor in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry,” according to Bloomberg.
The Fair Labor Association’s report found that “four-fifths of (Nestle’s) cocoa comes from channels for which information on labor is opaque.” In response, the company hosted a webcast in which it outlined its cocoa plan, including “new monitoring programs in two cooperatives this year and in 30 by 2016.”
“The use of child labor in our cocoa supply goes against everything we stand for,” Jose Lopez, Nestle’s head of operations, stated on the webcast. “You can be here talking about child labor but if there’s no school, it’s not going to work.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 3, 2012 10:01 AM
A little anecdote from the booming Chinese port city of Dalian will tell you two different (but equally important) things about Apple's popularity in mainland China and what the brand is going through there.
It seems that the security detail from Mall 1 showed up at Mall 2 to "send a message." That message was communicated when Mall 1's security guards arrived at Mall 2 and knocked down billboards advertising the soon-to-open Apple store. That Apple store, set to the world's largest, will soon open at Parkland Mall. The mall is high-end and home to numerous foreign luxury brands. In fact, a close look at the video of the brouhaha, above, reveals it was shot from a Starbucks patio. (Starbucks, by the way, is plowing its way through China lately, too.)
And all this during a week when Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China, from the Foxconn factory floor to the vice premier, and the March 29th report on Foxconn seemed to make all Apple's Foxconn woes disappear.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2012 07:02 PM
On Friday, Apple's week of bad news from China got the proverbial icing on the cake in the form of an initial report from The Fair Labor Association about Apple's manufacturing partners. The report had a number of points but the single bite the media latched on to was "tons of issues."
From its lost iPad trademark to working conditions to a smoldering conspiracy theory about the brand punishing The New York Times, Apple stands on the verge of flipping from the brand we love and hold up as an example to emulate, to the brand we love… begrudgingly.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 16, 2012 01:53 PM
In the ongoing news of worker abuse and suicide at Apple's top eight suppliers in China, with Foxconn Technology Group's factories most prominent in the glaring international spotlight, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has begun its on-site inspections of conditions at factories at Apple's behest, and the initial reports are better than expected.
"The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm," commented Auret van Heerden, president of the FLA, after visiting two Foxconn factories in Shenzhen in southern China and another plant in the central city of Chengdu with a contingent of 30 FLA inspectors. "I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2012 07:06 PM
Apple may be loved by many. But the brand that Steve Jobs built has been plagued by reports of abusive conditions at Foxconn and other factories, prompting protests at its stores and online. Online lobbying by consumers spurred Apple CEO Tim Cook to clamp down on third-party factory conditions in China and other overseas locations by joining forces with the Fair Labor Association to monitor its contractors and suppliers, making it the first technology company to sign on a participating company with FLA.
A Change.org petition was started by Mark Shields, a lifelong Apple customer, who wrote that he was "shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple's supplier factories," and has since received more than 250,000 signatures.
A parallel petition calling for ethical iPhone manufacturing by corporate accountability lobbying group SumOfUs.org garnered another 50,000 signatures and both groups supported protest events last week and delivery of signed petitions at Apple stores in Bangalore, London, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Sydney. SumOfUs, however, isn't convinced that FLA can be trusted.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 13, 2011 12:00 PM
In the video above, Nike chairman and cofounder Phil Knight narrates the philosophy behind the company's Better World corporate citizenship platform. He articulates its goals for sustainable packaging and product design, giving back to the community, and looking beyond the bottom line to improve lives (hence the "better world" tagline). He also admits that Nike could do more to improve the lives of the factory workers around the world who make its shoes and branded goods.
So Knight can't be too pleased by the latest news about its longstanding battle with human rights and labor activists regarding its global contractors. The Associated Press today released an expose documenting how dozens of factory workers making Nike's Converse sneakers in Indonesia are routinely abused on the job.Continue reading...