Foxconn worker subsidies: Is Apple on track to be the 1st Fair Trade tech company?

Summary:A story from a Chinese news site claims that Apple is topping up Foxconn worker wages to try to stem suicides...

I’ve been writing a lot about the concept of “Fair Trade Electronics” in the wake of the suicides at Foxconn.

I’ve asked ”Who Will Be The First “Fair Trade” Tech Company?… because I’m pretty sure there will be one, sooner than later.

I came across this story earlier today. I’m unfamiliar with the source but the story is interesting and it could indicate that Apple is taking a leadership position, in ensuring that the workers that make its products, are treated better than at other places.

Apple Providing Subsidies For Foxconn Workers ? » M.I.C Gadget

Apple might be showing their social responsibility for now. A tech site in China has reported, Apple will provide financial subsidies to Foxconn’s employees, the amount will roughly be 1 to 2% of the profits from Apple products.

Apple has conducted investigation on Foxconn, and they believe the main reason for the suicide jumps is related to the employees’ low wages. In order to solve the problem, Apple decides to offer a direct financial subsidies for the workers in Foxconn, it will first start from the iPad production line.

It was reported that Apple paid Foxconn about 2.3% of the total price of iPad, after the subsidies, it will expected to reach 3%, which is equivalent to the producing cost of the iPad aluminum shell-case.

[Zol.com.cn] zol.com.cn is a well-known China IT portal under CBS Interactive, you can see more info here.

Apple has the profit margins to give these worker subsidies, companies such as Dell and HP are on very tight profit margins and would find it tough to do the same. They can’t afford to pay their suppliers more money. But Apple could do it … and also benefit from excellent marketing. After all, Fair Trade is the new green.

A Fair Trade Macbook laptop would be the height of cool. After all, how could a Dell notebook compete? It would have to argue against Fair Trade working conditions. “Cheaper and less fair…” is not a good marketing slogan.

But that’s what the first Fair Trade Tech company can accuse all of its competitors. That’s marketing gold.

I think it is too early to say who will be the first Fair Trade Tech company, but if this story about worker subsidies is correct, Apple is moving in the right direction.



Foxconn Suicides: Is It Time For “Fair Trade” Electronics? Would You Buy A “Fair Trade” iPhone?

Who Will Be The First “Fair Trade” Tech Company? It’s The New “Green”…

It’s Cool To Be Fair…

Here’s a Pearltree on this subject. You can add it to your collection or if you have Pearls on this topic, send them to me and I will include them in this one.


Topics: Apple, CXO, iPad, IT Employment, Mobility

About

In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to make a living as a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leadi... Full Bio

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