An investigation by Chinese environmental groups, sparked by thousands of cases of lead poisoning in the country, has concluded with a report that urges foreign manufacturers including HP, Sony, Apple and Vodafone to clean up their supply chains.
The report, written by a coalition of 34 non-governmental organisations, names 29 companies that the groups insist should be held more accountable for the suppliers of their parts.
In addition to the poor working conditions found in many such factories, the report states they are often in violation of environmental regulations as well. One manufacturer that produces batteries used in Vodafone and BT handsets was linked to the lead poisoning of 121 children last year.
Vodafone reported that their supplier stopped buying from that particular factory after the report was published, and other companies have been responsive to the groups' calls for greater accountability. For such large companies, however, supply chains are complex and deeply entrenched systems, and scrubbing them clean is a considerable undertaking. Still, putting pressure on these companies from both sides - where their products are produced, as well as where they are sold - is one way to ensure that supply chain accountability remains a priority going forward. [Guardian via Greenbiz]
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