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Friday, February 23, 2018

Apple vs. Ivanka Trump: Competing ethics collide in China

Erika Kinetz
Associated Press
Originally published January 25, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Ivanka Trump's company, meanwhile, has called supply chain integrity a "top priority," but maintains that suppliers are the responsibility of its licensees — companies it contracts with to manufacture tons of Ivanka Trump handbags, shoes and clothes. The brand doesn't publish the identities of its manufacturers. In fact, its supply chains have only grown more opaque since the First Daughter took on her White House role, the Associated Press showed last year.

"That mode of thinking is the dominant mode of thinking," said Seth Gurgel, who has worked on Chinese legal and labor rights issues for more than a decade. "They'd be a textbook company that would want to hide behind licensee protections."

Big brands with dedicated suppliers tend to be more invested in workplace conditions than smaller brands like Ivanka Trump's. But the political and ethical calculus surrounding Ivanka Trump's name — and her namesake brand, which she still owns but no longer closely manages — shifted radically when she became an adviser to her father in the White House.

"If Ivanka could be pressured or convinced to become a global leader or speak out about abuses in the apparel industry, she could be a huge ally for labor NGOs and worker groups around the world," Gurgel said.

The article is here.