The recently published ‘Behind the Barcode’ report by Baptist World Aid graded tech giants on their efforts to fairly pay their manufacturing workers. The report returned rather dismal results with:
- 97% failing to demonstrate their workers were being paid enough
- 18% of companies having even partial knowledge of the source of their raw materials
- 34% had a code of conduct that included worker rights to collective bargaining, yet only one company could prove it
As more and more people become aware of the origins of their electronics, a more ethical option will increase in popularity. Manufacturing in countries such as India and China is very often in the same sentence as terms such as forced labour, exploitation and child labour.
The report from Baptist World Aid looked at the systems large electronics companies had in place to ensure these were not the norm within their organisations. By better informing Australian consumers, a simple goal of providing a living wage is an achievable outcome for the NGO.
We know through our work in the field that payment of a ‘living wage’ is critical in empowering individuals and communities to overcome poverty and unfortunately Australian brands aren’t exempt from this finding either.
“Workers in developing countries work long hours in often oppressive conditions to make the phones, TVs and tablets that we enjoy. The additional cost to ensure that they are rewarded for their efforts with a wage that is sufficient for them and their families to live is only a few dollars per product. By some estimates, as little as two to nine dollars per smart phone or less than 1.5% of the total price.” – Gershon Nimbalker, Advocacy Manager of Baptist World Aid.
Would you throw in the extra tenner for piece of mind?