Wednesday, 23 June 2010


I've just bought 80 fairtrade teabags for 28p - Sainsbury's Basics range. So, how does that work then? If you can sell fairtrade tea for 28p - including the cost of processing, packaging, shipping etc. - just how much does the grower get for fairtrade tea? It doesn't seem like nearly enough. Do all fairtrade brands pay their growers the same, or is some fairtrade fairer than others? And if they all pay the same, how do some brands justify charging 10 times as much or even more?

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rotten to the core?

Despite ranking a creditable 5th in Greenpeace's Greener Electronics guide, Apple fares less well on ethical use of labour. Those paying premium prices for the new iPad might be dismayed to learn that it is built by workers in a military-style factory in China, which is now in the spotlight for its high suicide rate among workers.

300,000 people work at the Foxconn factory, where they are forbidden to talk on the production line, even during breaks; many have complained of feeling lonely and alienated. These conditions, combined with massive demand for products like the 2M-selling iPad, appears to have placed an intolerable strain on workers, who are quitting the Longhua factory at the rate of 15,000 a month.

Workers have routinely worked more than 70 hours a week to fulfill orders. However, Apple maintains that Foxconn, which is one of Apple's primary suppliers, is not a sweatshop. Nevertheless, Foxconn has just agreed to immediately raise the basic salaries of its workers by a third, from £90 per month to £120.

You can read more on this story here, and from a marketing viewpoint here.