How has corporate social responsibility developed in the mobile phone industry in recent years and are social and environmental standards improving as fast as the product applications? This briefing will include a follow up on the ‘High Cost of Calling: Critical Issues in the Mobile Phone Industry’ report4, with the focus mainly on sourcing policies and practices and supply chain responsibility of the major brand companies.
This report examines the ICT sector, a relatively young sector that often portrays itself with a clean image of highly skilled jobs and ‘clean rooms’ where professionals work in a controlled and dust-free environment.
Poor working conditions exist in factories owned by subcontractors for Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Employees work long days in an unhealthy environment for a wage that is insufficient to live on. Such is the situation revealed in research conducted by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) on the ICT hardware sector.
SOMO conducted research in nine factories in China and the Philippines that supply parts for Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Working conditions in these factories are simply appalling.
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Siemens AG is Europe's largest engineering conglomerate. Siemens' international headquarters are located in Berlin and Munich, Germany. The company is a conglomerate of six major business divisions: Automation & Control, Power, Transportation, Medical, Information & Communication, and Lighting.
Samsung Electronics is a South Korean multinational corporation and the world's largest and leading electronics and information technology company. In August 2005, BusinessWeek rated Samsung as the Number 1 consumer electronics brand in the world with revenue topping 89.5$ billion. Headquartered in Suwon, South Korea, it is part of the Korean Samsung Group, operating in approximately over 100 countries.
Hewlett-Packard Company is the world's largest information technology corporation and is known worldwide for its printers, personal computers, high-end servers, and network management software.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States, it has a global presence in the fields of computing, printing, and digital imaging, and also provides software and services.
International Business Machines (IBM) manufactures computer software and hardware products. IBM is headquartered in Armonk, NY and has 355,766 employees worldwide. The company reported revenues of $91.4 billion in 2006.
Hitachi Ltd. makes corporate transaction-oriented mainframes, as well as semiconductors, servers, and other IT and telecommunications technologies. Hitachi also makes elevators and escalators, industrial robots and control systems, and power plant equipment. The company's power and industrial systems unit is its biggest revenue producer. Other products include metals, wire, and cable. Hitachi's consumer goods range from TVs to refrigerators and washing machines; the company also has operations in financial services, property management, and transportation.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a Japanese electronics manufacturer based in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It produces products under a variety of names including Panasonic and Technics. The company was founded by Konosuke Matsushita in 1918 to sell duplex lamp sockets. In 1927, it produced a bicycle lamp, the first product it marketed under the brand name National. Since then, it has become the largest Japanese electronics producer. In addition to electronics, Matsushita offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services.