Consumerism has taken a radical turn in recent years. Consumers today are more conscious about the impact of their purchase decisions on the environment and the society. This is especially true in the consumer electronics industry, where recent concerns about the use of child labour in supply chains has seen consumers gravitate towards electronic makers who have a track record of social responsibility.
Concerns about the use of child workers as young as seven in cobalt mining fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo has caused uproar in the consumer electronics industry—considering cobalt is used to manufacturer batteries for devices such as smartphones and laptops.
Electronic makers that depend on cobalt as a raw material have been compelled to closely monitor their supply chains to ensure that they do not support child labour. Consumers have been part of this push for greater transparency in the supply chain.
In order for a consumer to strengthen its consumer appeal it needs to uphold high ethical standards and embrace transparency. LG has taken this seriously. In addition to joining a number of advocacy organisations—such as the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) and the Responsible Raw Materials Sourcing Initiative (RRMI)—LG has also taken its own steps to clean up its supply chain.
“At LG we monitor all partners in order to maintain strict compliance with both international law and industry standards for cobalt and other 3TG minerals,” said Moses Marji, the LG East Africa Marketing Manager.
“Customers are demanding transparency as they take an increasing interest in the ethical practices of those they buy from. That is why are proactively taking measures to entrench sustainability and demonstrate our commitment to make the world a better place,” noted Mr. Marji.
Brands today have to reexamine their impact on not just the society, but also the environment. The number of eco-friendly products have increased, as have the number of companies that tout the positive environmental impact of their operations. This is all part of a push to align to the demands of consumers, who are increasingly keen on putting money into the pockets of responsible corporates.
A study from YouGov and the Global Poverty Project revealed that 74 per cent of consumers surveyed in U.K. would pay an extra 5 per cent for their clothes if there was a guarantee workers were being paid fairly and working in safe conditions. This holds true for other product categories, especially mobile phones and other consumer electronics which use cobalt and other minerals.