Apple Computers Inc. (Apple) is a technology company that has its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the company in 1976. During its early years, Apple depended heavily on the sale of computers for its growth. The company is credited with making ownership of computers fashionable. However, Apple has diversified its activities to include sales and manufacture of mobile phones and portable digital music players. The major products and services of Apple include iPhone, Mac, iPod, iPad, various consumer and professional software applications such as iOS (a mobile-based operating system), Mac OS X operating system and the iCloud. Mac App store, iTunes, and iBookstore also sell a variety of digital content to users. The most notable products of the company are the iPad, iTunes, iPod, and iPhone. The iPod and iTunes revolutionised the music industry. The iPhone is the first phones to integrate music into its applications. The iPhone is currently the most popular phone in the market. The iPad is the most recent addition to Apple’s product range. The iPad has revolutionised personal computing. Apple credits growth to its co-founder and visionary leader, the late Steve jobs (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskinson, 2012). Jobs helped the company to launch various ‘i’ products of the company – iPad, iPhone, iMac, iOS, and iPod.
Apple’s products affect the lives of various people around the globe. The success of the company necessitates it to have ethical business activities. The company should ensure that its activities do not negatively affect the environment and consumers. In addition, the company should be a good corporate citizen and improve the welfare of communities in its areas of operations. Therefore, the company should give back to the community through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Apple’s Ethical Policies
Companies should not just focus on making profits; they should ensure that their activities are ethically right. Companies’ activities should not negatively affect the society or environment. Ethical issues also refer to how a company relates with its suppliers and distributors. Companies should ensure that they interact in an ethical manner with suppliers. In addition, companies should ensure that their suppliers and distributors act in an ethical manner.
One of the main ethical issues that companies face is the working conditions of employees of the company and those of suppliers and distributors. The media put pressure on companies to ensure that employees of the company have a good working condition. However, ethically upright organisations should ensure that their activities are ethically right; regardless of whether the media are watching or not (Bredeson, 2011). Apple ensures that its employees have decent working conditions. Improved working conditions enable employees to have improved productivity, making the company gain a competitive edge over its rivals. Apple outsources most of its products from foreign manufacturing plants. Most of the foreign countries that Apple sources to are from Asia. These include China, Malaysia, and India. However, there have been allegations that Asian manufacturing plants mistreat their employees and regularly use child labour.
Apple ensures that the company treats its employees in a fair manner. Apple dictates that no employee in the foreign plants should work more than 60 hours. In addition, Apple ensures that no supplier uses child labour in manufacturing various components. Apple may terminate business relationships that it has with various suppliers if it finds out that they go against Apple’s ethical standards. In fact, Apple has terminated the contracts of various suppliers that have unethical business practices with regard to treatment of employees and use of child labour (Hill & Jones, 2012). Termination of contracts of suppliers who violate the terms of the supplier code of conduct, help Apple maintain its brand image.
Having a code of conduct is one of the main methods that business organisations use to ensure that their suppliers adhere to certain standards. However, having a supplier code of conduct is not enough. Companies should have mechanisms that ensure compliance to the code of conduct (Esty, Simmons & Price-Thomas, 20110. Apple’s supplier code of conduct sets the conditions that suppliers must meet to continue having business relationships with Apple. The supplier code of conduct ensures that companies treat their employees fairly. The supplier code of conduct stipulates that suppliers should offer good wages to their employees (Krosinsky, Robins & Viederman, 2011). After all, Apple pays suppliers handsomely for supply of various high quality products that are used in the manufacture of Apple products – which Apple sells at very high prices.
Apple also trains employees of their suppliers on their rights as enshrined in the country’s regulation and the supplier code of conduct. This reduces the probability of the suppliers mistreating the employees. Apple may intervene in certain disputes between supplier employees and suppliers. Apple has helped employees of suppliers receive millions of dollars due to various supplier malpractices (Mirchindani, 2012). In so doing, Apple ensures that suppliers treat their employees as if they were Apple employees.
Apple CSR Policies
Current business practices dictate that the business organisations should engage in CSR activities. Companies engage in CSR activities to make a positive impact on the community. CSR enables organisations to manage the economic, social, and environmental impacts of their activities to ensure that they are responsive to the stakeholders of the company. The regulations of the area of operations of the companies do not state CSR activities that companies should engage in. Therefore, companies may engage in CSR activities that they deem beneficial to the company and stakeholders. CSR ensures that companies maintain good profit margins, improve the reputation of the company, maintain the public goodwill and increase employee and consumer loyalty to the company. Therefore, companies do not waste their efforts and finances by engaging in CSR activities. CSR ultimately benefits the company. Apple has a CSR policy that ensures that the company engages in various CSR activities.
Apple undertakes various CSR activities through the Apple foundation. Apple foundation undertakes various CSR initiatives that help to improve the welfare of the communities in various locations, where Apple has its activities. Apple foundation helps in education initiatives. It helps in building schools and provision of equipment that aid students in learning. The foundation collaborates with local organisations to help education standards of people in the area.
Apple foundation helps improve the healthcare of people in various locations. The foundation helps in training of doctors and midwives in remote locations. The foundation also helps in building various health facilities mainly in remote locations. These initiatives help improve the healthcare of people in remote locations (China CSR map, 2012). Apple foundation engages in healthcare initiative in a remote location since these areas are in urgent need of healthcare services.
Apple foundation also engages in various initiatives that help protect the environment. The environmental protection CSR activities of Apple foundation are mainly locally based. The activities depend on the needs of the community. In China, Apple foundation engages in various activities that help protect Lake Kailash and Lake Mapam Yumco. The foundation also provides funds to local organisations that help improve the environment (China CSR map, 2012).
Cultural activities of a given community are what define the community. Companies that help initiate or preserve certain cultural activities are bound to improve their image to the members of the community. Apple foundation engages in cultural activities of various communities. In China, the foundation engages in initiatives that help promote the Tibetan culture (China CSR map, 2012).
AIDS is one of the greatest pandemic that the world faces. Millions of people die annually due to opportunistic infections that come because of AIDS. In addition, HIV infects millions of people annually. Most of the people who are infected with HIV/AIDS are in developing countries, with sub-Saharan Africa constituting a large proportion of the infections. Therefore, it is vital for companies to take part in initiatives that help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Apple understands the seriousness of HIV/AIDS. Apple is involved in various HIV/AIDS initiatives. These initiatives help improve the health of people who have HIV/AIDS access drugs at a cheaper price. In addition, the initiatives help in prevention of HIV/AIDS (Asongu, 2007). Apple engages in HIV/AIDS through the Product Red initiative. Product red is a global fund that helps in raising funds that are used to revert the spread of deadly diseases that are prevalent in Africa. These diseases include HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). Companies that engage in Product Red produce designated (Red) products, and donate a certain percentage (5 to 40) of profits due to the sale of the product, to the global fund (Marchand, 2011). Thus, Product Red ensures that companies also make money through their philanthropic activities. Apple has several designated (Red) products. These include the products red iPad smart cover and the iPod nano. A certain percentage of the profit due to the sale of these products goes to the Product Red global fund.
Environmental pollution is the greatest problem that countries in various parts of the world face. The largest percentage of environmental pollution is due to industrial activity. Virtually, every country in the world has felt the effect of environmental pollution as environmental pollution leads to global warming, which has various negative effects on the environment. Therefore, companies should ensure that their activities do not lead to environmental pollution. Sustainable business activities ensure that various activities of business organisations do not lead to environmental pollution (Jha & Murphy, 2006). Companies ensure that their operations are energy efficient and release very little amount of toxic compounds to the environment, in order to have sustainable operations.
Apple has a sustainability policy that ensures the sustainability of the company’s operations and products. Electronic products contribute greatly to environmental pollution. Electronic products contain various toxic products that pollute the environment. Therefore, sustainable companies should ensure that their products have very little amount of toxic chemicals. Circuits, cabling, covers, screens, and wrapping of electronic devises contain toxic chemicals. It is impossible to eliminate certain toxic products in electronic devices, since their chemical properties help the electronic device to function properly. However, companies should ensure that their electronic products have minimal quantities of toxic chemicals. Apple strives to ensure that its products have minimal toxic chemicals. The company ensures that its screens, cables, and packaging material do not have toxic chemicals. Cables of Apple’s computers do not have PVC and displays do not have mercury and lead. In addition, Apple ensures that its products have minimal packaging to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging material (Werbach, 2009). Reduction of the amount of toxic chemicals helps increase the sustainability of Apple’s products.
As explained above, it is impossible to eliminate all toxic products in electronic devices. Therefore, electronic devices have toxic compounds that are critical in the functioning of the device. Therefore, electronic waste (E-waste) contains toxic compounds, which pollute the environment. Accumulation of electronic waste in the environment leads to environmental degradation. This necessitates companies to recycle electronic products as to reduce electronic waste. Apple has initiatives that help in recycling of electronic products. Apple gives customers a huge discount if they return old products for recycling during purchase of new products (Reinhold, 2011). In addition, Apple designs its products in a way that makes them easily recyclable.
Energy efficiency is one of the major aspects of sustainability. Sustainable companies should ensure that their activities and products are energy efficient. Apple ensures that its activities are energy efficient. The company uses manufacturing processes and systems that highly energy efficient. Apple also ensures that its products are energy efficient. Apple has various electronic devices that are the benchmark for energy efficiency in the market. Apple’s Mac Mini is the most efficient desktop computer available in the market (Webber & Wallace, 2009). Energy efficiency of Apple’s products improves their competitiveness. This is because customers prefer energy efficient products.
Sustainable companies regularly produce sustainability reports that outline their sustainability efforts and impacts of the sustainability efforts. Companies may also include the sustainability of various stakeholders in the reports. Sustainability reports enable the public to measure the sustainability of the companies. Apple provides a sustainability report annually. The sustainability report outlines Apple and suppliers’ sustainability efforts (Dalton, Hoyle & Watts, 2010). Companies use sustainability reports to show their commitment to sustainability. This helps boost the image of the company.
Apple is a world-class organisation that ensures its activities conform to the image and reputation of the company. The company ensures that its activities and those of its suppliers are ethical. This helps in protecting the image of the company. In addition, the company engages in various CSR activities that respond to the needs of the community. The Apple foundation is involved in various community initiatives that cater for the needs of the community. However, Apple needs to improve its involvement in CSR activities and stop using sustainability as its main activity. Provision of education to needy populations is one of the CSR activities that the company may engage in. This would boost the image and reputation of the company tremendously.