The production methods of the modern technology we take for granted can be a terribly exploitative process. On some level we're aware of this, but just how bad is it? And who are the worst offenders when it comes to paying workers a decent wage for creating the products we buy and use on a daily basis?
A new analysis by Baptist World Aid Australia took 39 of the world's leading companies and examined their history on multiple different issues: wages, policies on forced labour, child labour and use of unpaid contractors in an attempt to see which companies were living up to their responsibilities, and which were neglecting them.
It turns out that Nintendo were among the worst, scoring an overall D in the index. Sony managed a little better with a C score, whilst Microsoft were among the top with a B.
|Amazon Kindle||D||Hisense||F||Motorola Mobility||B||SanDisk||C-|
|Dick Smith Electronics||D||Kogan||D-||Palsonic||F||Toshiba||B-|
Companies were graded on multiple different areas: their policies on working with companies that used child labour, how well they understood the supply chain they were involved with, the ability of the brand to monitor that chain and the degree to which the companies in question supported worker's rights.
For Nintendo, the evidence is pretty damning. Whilst Sony and Microsoft had policies to help prevent exploitative practices, Nintendo had practically none. In the area of workers rights, Nintendo scored an outright 'F' for failing to have a single policy that helped enable workers to bargain, to have a living wage, or to prevent child labour from occurring. Sony were only slightly above Nintendo in this regard, whereas Microsoft appear to have a number of policies in place to help prevent exploitation from occurring.
Pretty damning stuff. But while Nintendo has a terrible track record in this regard, Palsonic, Hisense and Kogan were among those who managed to come off worse in the report.
What's the solution to this kind of exploitation? It might be hard to hear, but some sort of increase on the price of the products we buy could help, but it's also about companies taking direct responsibility and becoming more aware of how their own products are produced. Here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later.