Ethics and Apple

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Executive Summary
Based on my research, I believe that Apple is acting in an ethical manner according to the definition of purchasing ethics. Purchasing ethics means following a code viewed as fair by those in the profession as well as the community. Apple is embracing its sense of corporate responsibility by increasingly involving itself in the improvement of Foxconn’s working conditions. However, Apple should do more to force Foxconn to improve their operating conditions, by increasing workers’ wages, decreasing working hours, and enacting policies to keep employees from going to school or leaving Foxconn. In light of the recent and high amounts of suicides as a result of the working conditions, United States consumers should care about Apple’s use of Foxconn to produce their products. From an ethical standpoint, Apple should use a hybrid strategy: continue to outsource to Foxconn on a limited basis while bringing some manufacturing capabilities back to the U.S. Employing this strategy requires that Apple instruct Foxconn managers and employees about ideal manufacturing tactics that can be transitioned into the China plant.

Situation

Over the last few years, Foxconn employees worked anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. Due to the long hours, heavy workload, and working conditions, many Foxconn employees committed suicide to escape machine-like work. In response, Foxconn installed suicide prevention netting at some facilities, and forced workers to sign a legally binding contract guaranteeing descendants would not sue the company as a result of suicide, self-injury, or unexpected death. In addition to this, the current wages paid at Foxconn do not adequately cover the basic needs of 64% of 35,000 employees surveyed by the Fair Labor Association. Even a 2012 audit performed by the Fair Labor Association still found that workers routinely received insufficient overtime pay and suggested that workplace accidents may be common. Even...
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