Doing business in China: Tim Cook vs. Ivanka Trump

How do they manage their supply chains? A team from the Associated Press stood them side by side.

From Competing ethics collide in China:

SHANGHAI (AP) — Apple Inc. and Ivanka Trump's brand both rely on Chinese suppliers that have been criticized for workplace abuses. But when it comes to dealing with those problems, they've taken different tacks.

After Apple learned that thousands of workers at an iPhone supplier had been underpaid in 2016, it helped them get their money back. After Ivanka Trump's brand learned that workers at its suppliers were complaining of low wages, forced overtime and verbal and physical abuse , it said its shoes hadn't been made at the factory in months. When three men investigating Ivanka Trump's supply chain were arrested last year, neither she nor her brand spoke out...

When Tim Cook took over as Apple's chief executive in 2011, the company was reeling from reports of suicidal workers flinging themselves from the buildings of its supplier Foxconn. The next year, Apple began publishing the names of its top suppliers and joined the Fair Labor Association. In its most recent supplier responsibility report, Apple said it performed 705 supplier audits in 2016 and helped educate more than 2.4 million workers about their rights as employees...

Ivanka Trump's company, meanwhile, has called supply chain integrity a "top priority," but maintains that suppliers are the responsibility of its licensees — companies it contracts with to manufacture tons of Ivanka Trump handbags, shoes and clothes. The brand doesn't publish the identities of its manufacturers. In fact, its supply chains have only grown more opaque since the First Daughter took on her White House role, the Associated Press showed last year.

My take: This says more about Tim Cook than it does about Ivanka Trump, who plays the foil in this story (as she does in nearly every story in which her name appears). But I applaud the AP's efforts. For more than a decade, Apple has been releasing its annual Supplier Responsibility report in a vacuum, where it makes no noise. The next one is due in March.

One Comment

  1. Ken Cheng said:
    To be fair, Apple has leverage over its suppliers; while Ivanka, like her father, mostly licenses her name, allowing the actual mfrs to run amok.

    1
    January 25, 2018

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