Hello, this is the case study. Could you help?
March 04 2017: This week another shocking report was published by the U.K's Sky News about cobalt mining in Congo that widely uses child labour as young as seven years old to dig for cobalt with their hands. The source is Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company, a Chinese firm that is the largest buyer of artisanal cobalt in Congo and whose minerals are used in Apple products. Hence, Apple uses cobalt in their respective smartphones and the children get 10 to 12 cents a day (8 pence) to work in the mines.
Especially after the intense report by the BBC in 2014 accusing Apple of closing their eyes to child labour and poor working conditions at other mines, Apple assured that they will never support such suppliers in the future. But once again Apple got caught!
Yet only after the story broke did Apple decide to make a statement that they would stop buying cobalt mined by hand in Congo until conditions improve and child labour is stopped. If a reporter was able to find out about the conditions of the mine and even film it, then why couldn't Apple have found that? Apple could have dealt with this issue a year ago according to the Washington Post, yet basically chose not to in the hopes that it would all just fade away with the next news cycle. And it did until last week.
While Apple knew about this for a year, it's only now that the mine was recently on TV for all the world to see that they moved quickly from talk to PR damage control and action. Yet in the end, the iPhone machine must stay on schedule and Apple will do whatever they have to do to ensure they get their iPhones to market. That's the brutal reality, child labour or not.
The Washington Post reported this Friday that "Last year, Apple pledged to clean up its cobalt supply chain, but the technology giant said it wanted to avoid hurting the Congolese miners by cutting them off. Mining provides vital income for hundreds of thousands of people in what is one of the world's poorest countries." So if Apple stops buying from them, this will negatively affect livelihood of the community and their survival. Again, if Apple will not purchase, someone else will purchase and their by child labour will be carried on. So do you think in this way, Apple is not doing anything wrong?
Could you help me with these questions?
1. Explain the case scenario in terms of responsible purchasing. How far Apple is responsible for this issue?
2. What Apple should do to ensure ethical and sustainable supply chain solution?
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