It’s hard to imagine a world without electronic gadgets. We all rely on Information Technology-IT everyday. In fact, IT has improved our lives in many different ways. But it has also created many new problems around the world.
As part of the Make IT Better campaign of Friends of the Earth, thousands of people have forced Samsung to confirm it uses tin from Bangka Island, Indonesia, where tin mining is ravaging forests and coral reefs, injuring miners and destroying fishermen's livelihoods. Apple almost certainly also uses tin in its mobile phones that has come from that same Island.
You can now write to Apple to be transparent about its supply chain and to encourage other companies to do the same: http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/make_it_better_action_37571.html
After makeITfair research on the corporate responsibility of mobile network operators in Sweden, Germany and Finland, there is now also a report on the conduct of Hungarian mobile network operators as far as human rights and sustainability practices are concerned.
Wages too low to support a family, circumvention of overtime payments violating international standards, 12-hour shifts and temporary agency workers exceeding the number of permanent workers in times of peak production. Many of the labour issues well-known from factories in South-east Asia are also found in Hungary. This is the main conclusion from the latest makeITfair report “The Flex Syndrome” which examines labour conditions at Samsung, Nokia, Flextronics and Foxconn. The report shows that the flexibility provided by law heavily draws on Hungarian production workers.
Last week the Singapore-based NGO Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) submitted a complaint with the Japanese National Contact Point for the OECD about abuse of migrant Chinese workers at a Panasonic plant in Singapore referring to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Guidelines are far-reaching recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.
Mobile responsibility? A look at the human rights and sustainability practices of Finnish mobile network operators DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera
In 2009, Finnwatch and its partners in the makeITfair project published a comparative study looking at the responsibility of Finnish and other European mobile network operators. The results showed that there was a huge need for improvements along the entire production chain and that responsible mobile devices were still a long way off. The current report looks at how the responsibility practices of the three largest Finnish operators – DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera – have changed over the past years. Between them, they provide 98 percent of Finnish mobile subscriptions. The companies have progressed in this regard compared to the 2009 report. Still, many problems and challenges remain, as even the best responsibility code is not effective unless it is adhered to.