Corporate Responsibility and Marketing Strategies
January 28, 2014
Dr. Allen Beck
Apple corporation bases its success on “creating innovative, high quality products and services and on demonstrating integrity in every business interaction.” According to Apple, four main principles contribute to integrity: honesty, respect, confidentiality, and compliance. To more thoroughly detail these principles, Apple has drafted a code of business conduct that applies to all its operations, including operations overseas. Apple disappointed socially responsible investors. Apple has come under fire since around 2006 as details emerged surrounding the workplace environment at Apple's Chinese suppliers. An article in The New York Times publicized unsatisfactory worker conditions, which included grueling 24-hour shifts, overcrowded dorms, exposure to toxic chemicals, and horrific explosions. Foxconn Technology Group operates many of the plants in question in Chengdu, China. When it comes to customers, Apple is said to be a bold innovator that leads the industry into new directions and forces others to follow. However, when it comes to the management of its supply chain and treatment of workers in the Chinese factories that make its products, Apple hides behind the constraints of prevailing industry practices. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that these practices are in violation of not only local and national laws, but also of Apple's own voluntary self-imposed code of conduct. Most of Apple's worker-related problems were focused on Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn and its subsidiaries. Apple's China operations first caught international attention in June 2006 with a long story in Britain's Mail on Sunday.1 This was followed by a series of similar stories in other leading international news media, and has continued to this day.2 Because of Foxconn's secrecy, it is well-nigh impossible to develop an accurate assessment of the problems in the factories owned and operated by Foxconn and its various subsidiaries. However, a brief description of extreme conditions prevailing in these factories and widely reported in the media gave the readers some indication of the enormity of the problems that likely to existed in those plants. Apple has audited many of its suppliers and found violations of its Supplier Code of Conduct, but requesting its suppliers improve working conditions is not as powerful as changing suppliers to ones with more humane conditions. Part of the problem is that Apple has no legal liability for what happens in Chinese factories owned by separate manufacturers. Environmental organization Greenpeace had frequently campaigned against Apple, requesting elimination of non-recyclable hardware components, the removal of toxins from iPhone hardware, and a comprehensive take-back plan to prevent Apple products from ending up as waste. Greenpeace also began a protest in 2003 against Apple's use of toxic PVC plastics and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, in Apple’s products. Apple eliminated these chemicals in 2008, becoming the first laptop maker to do so (Corporate Responsibility Spotlight: Apple, September 14, 2012.) Workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside China’s plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors. The suppliers demonstrated disregard for workers health. In 2010, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after the workers were said to have been...
References: Apple 's Labor Practices In China scrutinized after Foxconn, pegatron reviews. Forbes.com. 12/12/2013, p2-2. 1p. 1 Chart.
Apple’s Marketing Strategy – Sell On Value, Not Price. Retrieved from http://www.chrisnosal.com/apples-marketing-strategy-sell-products-on-value-not-price/
(Duhigg, Charles and Barboza, David.( January 25, 2010). In China, human costs are built into an iPad, (The NewYork Times).
Frauenheim, Ed. February 6, 2012. Bad Apple: Could the era of exploitation outsourcing be near its end? Retrieved from http://www.workforce.com/blogs/2-work-in-progress/post/bad-apple-could-the-era-of-exploitation-outsourcing-be-near-its-end)
Kannel, Charlie, The Motley Fool (September 14, 2012) Corporate responsibility spotlight: Apple. (Daily Finance).
Ira Kalb, Marshall School of Business, USC . (September 13, 2013) Apple 's 'Cheap iPhone ' might not be that affordable, but it does protect the brand (Business Insider). Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-changes-its-marketing-strategy-for-the-better-with-the-5s-and-5c-introduction-2013-9#ixzz2rfA6rG7yhttp://www.businessinsider.com/apple-changes-its-marketing-strategy-for-the-better-with-the-5s-and-5c-introduction-2013-9
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