Wednesday, 19 December 2012

US consumer electronics companies are more transparent on environmental and social issues than their Asian counterparts – Verdantix

imageAccording to the Sustainable Supply Chain Benchmark: Consumer Electronics report from Verdantix, Apple, Dell and HP perform well on the disclosure of environmental and social issues in their supply chain including the level of child labour, health and safety and hazardous substances. By comparison, those headquartered in Asia, including Canon, Panasonic and Samsung, are less transparent.

Verdantix reports significant differences in how much data regarding their sustainable supply chain programmes is disclosed by the 12 organisations in the report – Apple, Canon, Dell, Hitachi, HP, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Nokia, Panasonic , Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. Firms such as Canon, Hitachi and Samsung are not only not disclosing their social and environmental supply chain issues but are not auditing and engaging their suppliers to the same extent as the leading US firms.

“If consumers want to buy their Christmas gifts from organisations who are being transparent about the social and environmental issues in their supply chains they should buy from Apple, Dell and HP’’, commented David Metcalfe, CEO of Verdantix. “These brands have gone beyond adhering to the standards of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and have put in place their own audit programmes. These leading firms also disclose a plethora of data on supplier compliance to their code of conduct showing willingness to confront the inherent challenges of a sustainable supply chain in markets with low regulatory standards such as China.’’


Review:  When it comes to sustainability, the transparency of a company’s operations is significant. If it’s not possible to get good information about the environmental and social issues in a supply chain then we are entitled to assume the worst.

Even if a company is not performing well, it’s better to say so and to demonstrate what actions are being taken to address the issue. Certainly, no sustainability programme has much value without the transparency to assess progress. (Since most corporate ‘green’ action is at least partly carried out for the good publicity, not being able to verify the achievements makes no sense).

Of course transparency itself doesn’t necessarily mean good, but at least it shows an honest approach to any problems and a willingness to address them.

So, if it’s not too late, you now know which makes to buy for your Christmas presents (although could Apple sell iPads any faster this Christmas?).

© The Green IT Review

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