Online Petition Seeks “Ethical” iPhone 5

Everyone knows that Apple is on top of the smartphone world, and people literally stand in line for days to get hold of their new products when they are released. However, the way that Apple meets the demand for its products has recently come into question. Each time an Apple product is released, there is a huge manufacturing undertaking to create millions of these products in a timetable that Apple sets. To pull this off, they use tactics that an online petition now is questioning the ethical responsibility of.

How It’s Done

To meet the mammoth demand for its products, Apple turns to overseas manufacturers. One of these is a company called Foxconn. While Foxconn is able to meet Apple’s requirements, not just in time and work, but in cost effectiveness, the supplier has been criticized for its less-than-desirable labor practices. Not only are the workers treated unfairly, according to watchdog group SumOfUs, but there are major safety issues as well.

To make it worse, Apple is being accused of questionable business strategies that keep these manufacturers from fixing some of these problems. Why do they do this? The heart of the matter is cost. Apple uses these suppliers from overseas because they can get more product for their money, and they aren’t about to let that slip away over silly things like labor issues and worker safety.

Who’s Mad?

SumOfUs’s petition requesting that Apple make the upcoming, and much anticipated, iPhone 5 the first one created ethically. The petition, according to SumOfUs, received more than 35,000 signatures in its first day online. That’s a lot of mad people. The point of the petition is for Apple to take the time to reassess the way workers are treated in the factories that manufacture the products that they profit so much from. It is an issue of social responsibility, and the people that signed this petition believe that Apple has plenty of resources to make something like this happen.

What Can Apple Do?

For Apple, the solution is simple enough. The contracts they have with companies like Foxconn are huge, multi-million dollar contracts. If Apple requested changes, no doubt their demands would be met before any of these suppliers let a contract like that go by the wayside. Sure, it may cost Apple a little extra to see these things turned around, but they have the power to make it happen. That is exactly what SumOfUs is trying to prove with this online petition. Apple has the power to do the right thing, so why not now?

This is just another blow for Apple’s image here lately. Recently, another petition addressed what it called a “homophobic” application that was available at Apple’s App Store. Apple responded favorably and promptly, pulling the product from its virtual shelves. Also, the Siri assistant application that was one of the selling points of the iPhone 4S came under fire when it refused to direct users to an abortion clinic.

Things are mounding up against Apple here in the court of public opinion. With a new petition making the rounds at a time when Americans are very concerned with labor conditions, it may be time for Apple to listen. Will the iPhone 5 be the first “ethical” iPhone? It looks like the ball is in Apple’s court.

George Stanzan is a retired insurance broker looking to inform consumers about auto insurance and commercial insurance.

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