2nd February 2012
Pride will have a fall, and even the world's largest corporation by market capitalisation might need to start looking over its shoulder as a small backlash gathers momentum.
Apple is the darling of the technology sector, producing a stream of iconic, aesthetically pleasing products consumers did not know they needed. And that's just it, how sustainable is a business model based almost exclusively on delivering the next market ‘wow', which by implication means it has to go on endlessly innovating just to stand still, rather than designing for long-term excellence?
Founded in 1976, Apple was part of that golden generation of high-tech companies that encompassed a new American dream; back then Apple boasted its products were designed and made in America; now hardly anything it makes is made in the USA, in fact Apple now reflects not so much the American dream as the arch-exponent of globalisation, which has seen a jobs drain from the West to the East. Almost all of the 70 million i-phones and 30 million i-pads that have become an omnipresent part of UK life are assembled in China. Cheap labour, flexible factories and the sheer scale of production makes US manufacturing of Apple's products a distant memory.
This is already raising questions; but the implications for labour, human rights and conflict minerals go to the heart of Apple's sustainability difficulties.
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