"Every day, tens of millions of people will swipe the screens of their iPhones to unlock them.
On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens. In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative. After just a few years on the line, she will be fired because the neurological damage from the n-hexane and the repetitive stress injuries to her wrists and hands make her unable to continue performing up to standard.
Sound like a nightmare? According to recent reports, scenarios like this have been all too real in Apple’s Chinese supply chain. I love Apple products as much as anyone else. I’m typing this on a Macbook, and I want to buy an iPhone 5 when it comes out. But like many consumers, I don’t want my money to support thousands of workers’ rights violations that investigative journalists are reporting extend throughout Apple’s supply chain.
Right now we have a huge opportunity as ethical consumers: The launch of the iPhone 5 later this year will be new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first big product rollout, and he can’t afford for anything to go wrong — including negative publicity around how Apple’s suppliers, like Foxconn, treat their workers. That’s why we’re launching a campaign this week to get Apple to overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers in time for the launch of the iPhone 5.
Can Apple do this? Absolutely. Apple is the richest company in the world, posting a record-breaking profit margin for the last quarter of 44.1%. They’re sitting on $100 billion in cash. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in the New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen - “Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”
- Taren, Kaytee, Claiborne and the rest of the team
For further reading:
- New York Times, In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad, 25 January 2012
- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises: Predicaments of Workers After the Suicides, 6 May 2011
- This American Life, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory, 6 January 2012
- SACOM, Another Foxconn worker dies, this time from exhaustion, 4 June 2010”