Apple supply chain under fire from Change.org protest
More than 140,000 people across the world have joined an explosive campaign on Change.org, calling on Apple to protect workers in their supply chain who assemble Apple products from abuse, injury and death.
Mark Shields, a self-identified Apple “super-user,” launched the campaign on Change.org after listening to a radio program detailing allegations of labor abuses at an Apple supplier factory in China, including child labor, serious physical injuries of workers from repetitive motions during long shifts, and stress-related worker suicides.
“Apple is supposed to ‘think different’, which is one of the reasons I love and use the products they make,” said Shields. “But the horrible human suffering that goes into making Apple products isn't what they promise in their brand. I was heartsick when I learned what was really happening. That's why I launched this campaign on Change.org and probably why so many people have joined so far.”
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In less than 48 hours, Shields’ petition grew from a few hundred supporters to more than 140,000, many of whom have identified themselves as Apple fans.
“I am an advocate of Apple products, a raving fan, and have been ever since I got my first little all-in-one Mac in the 80s,” said Bellingham, WA, resident J.R. “I want to see Apple take an active role in improving the working conditions of the people who make their products. Even if that means longer wait times for new releases, or even higher prices, there is no shiny gadget that is worth the loss of another human being's use of their hands.”
Others echoed those sentiments.
“I was one of the people standing in line for hours waiting to buy the iPad when it was first released,” said Apple user Gabrielle, of Grandville, MI, upon joining Mark’s campaign. “Apple, you have the power, and most certainly the resources, to change things. Please act now and make all of us proud of loving Apple products once again.”
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.