“End of day, it all comes down to tangibility in mission, vision, and engagement. this is often where firms fail as they give to causes w/out mission critical application, and then look to engage internals / externals in their "cause".
Firms like Interface Flooring and Patagonia are cases for the opposite. The have completely torn apart every product, process, and person to understand where their firm's footprint impacts, and the built a culture that addresses those impacts as part of their business mission. It is a tangible, actionable, process that has sustained impact because their systems are built around it
hp blogger John Friedman on Feb 22, 2013 at 18:26:51
“Thanks for commenting and offering your insights, China. Patagonia is one of my favorite examples as well. I'll check out Interface Flooring as well.
Do you know any good examples from China? Curious if, and how the CSR movement is taking hold there, since it is a rapidly growing economy.”
In my mind, and as an educator myself, if you are going to overcome the three barriers you have listed then you really need to work on what is perhaps the biggest challenge of all... changing the value systems of individuals (as consumers and CITIZENS) such that those changes are supported (perhaps demanded) of business leaders.
At this point, I would say that is perhaps the most difficult as it forces "leaders" to continue maintaining focus on economic indicators when measuring "success" and "progress"... and while we may all agree that the sole focus on GDP does not capture the success of an economy (and dos not account for the negative externalities of said progress/ growth), until an external change occurs, our leaders are only going to continue playing they game they know how to play.
“Creating a fair trade label for these products would be a difficult task given the complexity of the supply chains, and the notoriously secretive firms themselves.
Thus is the problem.
Right now, Apple's supply chain is under review globally and even with documented cases of factory explosions and chemical exposures that kill and injure, there's still no consumer action. Chinese or Western. The moral imperative has been largely lost.
Economically, what Apple has shown is that (even with 30% profit margins and a billion USD a day in profit) there is no economic imperative to change. Consumers are apathetic and the brand is safe. For now
So if there is no catalyst for them (Apple) to move (economically or morally), I fear that any efforts to create an industry wide practice will fail in a similar means as the global talks on climate change. Consumers, regulations, NGOs, and industry players need to come out strongly on those who are the worst offenders to begin creating a foundation by which all can be moved forward, and it's my hope that he recent reports will engage one or more of those stakeholders to act. Otherwise, there is a risk that firms who have invested heavily into better/ best practices may see there is no longer an imperative for them as well... "better than Apple" will become a standard.
“It would be nice if people who are commenting on these things actually knew what they were talking about.
"A billion USD a day in profits"? So Apple with 108 Billion sales last year magically managed to have profits 3x higher than their sales/revenues?”
hp blogger Yu Zhou on Jan 30, 2012 at 19:29:23
“I agree that these products are complex for outsiders or consumers, but not necessarily for people who are inside the trade. There are many business associations on various aspects of the electronic chain. If funds are available, NGOs on ethical standards are not impossible to establish. There are such NGOs in many industries, but not in electronics in monitoring the working conditions. Environmental organizations are doing some work there in China, but they do not have the industrial expertise. It seems that if we have NGO in agricultural trade, we should have NGOs in other trades so some forces other than Apple will enforce the corporate responsibility standards.”