How are Apple’s competitors doing in terms of disclosing or reducing worker abuse at their plants in China?
None too well, according Nick Bilton in the New York Times.
Over the past week I have asked Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Microsoft, Dell, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Lenovo about their reports on labor conditions. Many, if not all, of these electronics makers also use Foxconn.
Most responded with a boilerplate public relations message. Some didn’t even respond. The answer from Barnes & Noble, the maker of the Nook e-reader, was typical. Mary Ellen Keating, a senior vice president, said only, “We don’t comment on our supply chain vendors.” Ms. Keating wouldn’t say why Barnes & Noble does not discuss its manufacturing.
Lenovo e-mailed an off-topic report on sustainability.
Samsung, which sells far more cellphones than Apples does, gave no response.
Although some technology companies share some information about their audits, none go into detail about the violations they find or what they are doing to fix problems.
“When violations exist, they don’t follow up nearly as well as Apple does,” said Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, which monitors and investigates labor conditions in China.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.
- Labor Activist: Apple Best at Auditing Factories, Still Not Doing Enough (laptopmag.com)
- Sadly, Apple holds the high ground in electronics manufacturing (venturebeat.com)