For my case study, I have chosen to look at Apple and the numerous problems that people are trying to address with the company.
I’m going to address each issue 1 by 1.
Mistreatment of workers
Over the past 2 years a big shadow has hung over Apple. A lot has been said about their working environments and more importantly the people they employ to make their products. Here is some of the information that I have found.
- Foxconn is the manufacturing partner of Apple. Based in Taiwan, they make products such as iPad, iPhones and Macs.
- A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 18 workers throw themselves from the tops of the company’s buildings, with 14 deaths
- Foxconn workers get paid $1.78 an hour.
- Employees handle raw aluminium to form various designs and they create 10,000 pieces per hour.
- Even with low wages and grueling conditions, 3000 people a day line up outside the factory for an opportunity to work.
- Nightline was the first journalist group allowed in the plant, they commentated that Foxconn would employ 80% of those people.
- At least eleven 15-year old children have been employed by Apple. They immediately responded with a review of their employees.
- Apple admitted to their factories making employees work more then 60 hours a week.
(Information taken from The Guardian, Mashable and The Telegraph – Edited on 13/3/12 after watching the Nightline news report)
- Suicide nets have been implemented onto parts of the Foxconn factories.
- Aluminium dust can be found all around the factory with some employees not being given masks.
- Workers failing to pull their weight or their duties are made to be humiliated in front of the other workers.
- During breaks, there are no places to sit, just the floor.
- Costs $17 a month to live in the factory, sleeping up to 7 in one apartment type room.
(Information taken from The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post)
Another apparent problem that Apple has is it non eco-friendliness in it’s production line, products and packaging. Here are some of the main points that I have found.
- Greenpeace activists have shown green lights at the flagship Manhattan Apple to store to promote awareness of eco-waste. Apple is the fastest growing technology company and E-waste is the fastest growing form of toxic waste.
- Kaedar Electronics in China allow toxin discahrges run from the factory. It has affected the river that locals use to fish.
- Catcher-Topo, another Apple supplier is also leaking toxic waste. Locals are looking to move away from their homes because of the “toxic air”
- Greenpeace unhappy with Apple not removing “all toxic PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its entire new product range”.
(Information taken from Greenpeace.org, Techradar and CNN)
As you can see, there is plenty of information to work with to make a good case study. I knew a lot of this information anyway due to me being a bit of an Apple freak, but to get some hard journalistic evidence is good.