Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 5: Apple’s iPad City: subcontracting exploitation to China
Many image-conscious technology companies, probably none more than Apple in our digital age, have professed ideals of corporate citizenship, environmental, labour and social responsibility in their supplier codes of conduct. This is in part a response to the growing anti-sweatshop movement in the electronics industry from within the United States, Europe, and more recently Greater China (Smith et al. 2006; Litzinger 2013). Violations of factory workers’ fundamental rights in export-oriented industry nevertheless remain intractable, prompting scholars and practitioners in corporate responsibility to promote the leverage of private and public power to create ‘just supply chains’ (Locke 2013; Mayer and Gereffi 2010; Boston Review 2013). The main effort of public–private partnerships is to call on a shared commitment of the national governments, transnational corporations and non-governmental labour organizations to better protect workers.
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