BSR: New York Times’ Apple-Foxconn article contains untruths, inaccuracies, and misleading info

Earlier this week, BSR asked the New York Times to correct inaccurate and misleading information in the story that ran on January 26, 2012 entitled “In China, the Human Costs That Are Built Into an iPad.”
The following is BSR’s letter to the editor that they submitted following publication of the article, as well as the main points BSR made to the New York Times in a letter sent on January 17, prior to publication. While some changes were made to the story, we believe that several important inaccuracies and misleading information remained in the story that was published on January 26.

Dear Editors,

I am writing in response to The New York Times article ‘In China, the Human Costs That Are Built Into an iPad,’ published on January 26 by Charles Duhigg and David Barboza.

This article shines a light on important supply chain issues that are a crucial part of the global economy—one of the sustainability challenges BSR has worked on with business and other stakeholders for 20 years. Unfortunately, the article mistakenly attributes several quotes to an unnamed “BSR consultant,” presenting a false impression that those views should be associated with BSR.

While the story focuses on Apple, the question of conditions in global supply chains is of immense importance to all companies, in all sectors. There is no doubt that, while more and more companies are committed to ensuring good working conditions in their supply chains, additional steps should be taken. The key to progress is a combination of renewed commitments by the private sector, better enforcement of laws by governments, collaboration between businesses and NGOs, and worker empowerment. Global companies who are active in this space know that long-term, sustainable change takes time and requires many players working together.

This goes to the heart of our work at BSR. We remain intensely committed to helping global companies work effectively with government, consumers, workers, and civil society to create a more sustainable future.

Sincerely,
Aron Cramer
President and CEO, BSR

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