Socially Responsible (Module 7) Matthew Waliszek Liberty University BUSI 520 Strategic Marketing Management May 6, 2013 What specific suggestions could you provide for your firm to follow in order to be more socially responsible? The issues of social responsibility within a technology field usually fall within two areas: environmental and social, specifically labor. Somewhere there is a balance between product quotas and corporate social responsibility. Public opinion and clever communication often determines the outcome.
In 2005 Apple began a supplier code, which stated Apple’s corporate stand on issues like employee workload, child labor, and proper wages. Since many of the local foreign companies who provide the manufacturing labor do not govern these issues, it becomes the responsibility of the company to provide the social restraints. Apple’s self-initiated audits report deficiencies in the supplier and demand reparations to those violations. If they are severe enough, Apple will terminate its involvement with the supplier.
Apple announced that it fired one of its suppliers in the 2013 Supplier Responsibility Report when an audit revealed that the supplier had seventy-four underage worker violations (iClarified, 2013). Recently Apple increased its audits of its foreign manufacturing plants, since Apple products are mainly outsourced overseas (Torres, 2012). Now boasting a 92 percent compliance with a maximum sixty-hour workweek, Apple has bent to the public desire for a socially responsible company despite its intrinsic business production pressures (Apple, 2013).
In January 2012 the New York Times reported poor working conditions at Chinese suppliers, particularly in regards to a dozen suicides. “The facilities of Foxconn are fine, but the management is poor,” revealed Zhu Guangbing, who organized the investigation (Torres, 2012). Critics of Apple note, though, that half of the suppliers since 2007 have violated the suppliers’ code and still maintain contracts with Apple (Duhigg, 2012). The rationalization for continuing work with companies like Foxconn include the limited amount of suppliers who can produce such quantities within such a small production window.
Apple’s facilities only account for 2% of its total carbon footprint and is 100% powered by renewable energies. The rest are a result of manufacturing, transportation, product use, and recycling (Apple, 2013). It’s important to note that Apple considers its own products use in its entire carbon footprint. Features such as wake on demand, power supply efficiency, automatic graphics switching, and standby power have reduced the average power consumption since 2008 by 40%.
The true environmental impact of Apple is from its manufacturing plants, which have produced almost 19 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Although Greenpeace did praise Apple for attaining 70% in global recycling, Apple still ranks sixth in Greenpeace’s energy rating. With no surprise, Apple got negative marks for not being transparent in supplier reporting. Apple also still uses several harmful chemicals that make it difficult to recycle, including the glue in its newest Macbook Pro (Greenpeace, 2012).
Apple will continue to be socially and environmentally responsible if it continues its domestic improvements; however, the greatest impact will be from the pressure it places on its suppliers to improve work conditions and renewable energy conversion. Apple has learned that consumers care how their products are produced. Whether Apple has successfully weighed the balance of product quotas and corporate social responsibility will be determined by consumers purchasing decisions. References: Apple Inc. (2013). Apple – The Story Behind Apple’s Environmental Footprint.
Retrieved from http://www. apple. com/environment/our-footprint/ Apple, Inc. (2013). Apple – Supplier Responsibility – Reports. Retrieved from http://www. apple. com/supplierresponsibility/reports. html Duhigg, C. (2012, January 25). Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China – NYTimes. com. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china. html? pagewanted=all&_r=1& Greenpeace (2012, November). Guide to Greener Electronics 18 | APPLE. Retrieved from http://www. greenpeace. rg/international/en/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/18th-Edition/APPLE/ IClarified (2013, January 25). iClarified – Apple News – Apple Posts Supplier Responsibility Report, Fires Supplier for Underage Workers. Retrieved from http://www. iclarified. com/26954/apple-posts-supplier-responsibility-report-fires-supplier-for-underage-workers Torres, C. (2012, November). Four Case Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility: Do Conflicts Affect a Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. Retrieved from http://www. utrechtlawreview. org/index. php/ulr/article/viewFile/205/203