In 2017, Apple admitted to knowingly utilizing child labor through its manufacturing partner Foxconn. This was not the first time either company had been accused of violating labor laws. In the past year, accusations of labor and human rights abuses have grown. Companies have been accused of labor violations, falsification of working hours, harassment and underage staffing. Apple’s competitors like Microsoft and Samsung are guilty of abusing human rights internationally as well. Although factory employees in the US are covered by workplace injury law and related laws, workers outside the US are not. In fact, they are often taken advantage of, much to their detriment.
Fairphone defines business ethics. Their mission is to develop smartphones with minimal impact on the environment and respect for labor laws. Fairphone tracks every piece that is put together to make one phone, an important part of fair trade initiatives. They know where every piece of your phone comes from. With Fairphone’s transparency and moral standing, buyers can feel confident in their choices.
LSTN, a manufacturer of headphones and other audio supplies, is another ethical standout. Each transaction generates a contribution to the Starkey Hearing Foundation. LSTN and the foundation have a team that travels worldwide to give hearing aids to those who cannot afford them. Their mission is to “create change through the power of sound and music,” and donating hearing aids is how they choose to do so. Each headphone or earbud purchase helps someone feel the joy of music and connect more with their community.
Nimble is well known for its ethical practices when it comes to things like sourcing production materials sustainably and recycling. Their phone chargers are made from recyclable materials and are packaged in materials that you can also recycle. In fact, their impact goes beyond that. For every Nimble product that you buy, they send you a shipping label and a pouch that enable you to send back up to a pound of e-waste that you want to get rid of and they’ll make sure it’s responsibly recycled. Nimble is clearly truly committed to helping the environment.
If you look, you can likely find and support ethical electronics companies near you. By supporting these companies, you can help direct your funds to support the values you care about. You are taking a stand by utilizing your dollars to support companies that have made real change. Refurbished products can also be an important choice that helps to minimize environmental devastation. You can find ways to invest in ethical options at sites like https://www.ethical.org.au and https://refurbees.com.
If you’re into other technology that helps the environment, check out this article on the ZERA Food Recycler!