As manufacturing gets more distributed, it gets more anonymous in some ways: the parts for one computer might have been made in several countries, and even the assembly might have been split between more than one place; place of origin is complicated, and typically opaque for the purchaser of consumer goods. However, modern logistics and tracking mean that it doesn't have to be a mystery, and stages of a device's production can in theory be traced, which means that buyers and intermediaries can decide to buy essentially identical products and components based on factors like whether coffee is shade grown, or whether production line workers are treated in line with the buyer's own ethical demands. A slice from an article at Forbes about this kind of logistics-based practical ethics: An anonymous reader writes: Certain companies are taking this a step further, by using technology to assist workers in their day-to-day activities – for example, BMW is creating bespoke thermoplastic polyurethane thumb protectors for their factory workers. Others are working on ways of incentivizing behavior on top of these systems. Levi's is piloting a program where they offer cheaper short-term credit to companies that meet their safety levels. While it's true that this would result in an initial upfront cost, the whole reason CSR programs were created to begin with was to obtain legitimacy and the appearance of good corporate citizenship. If consumers wanted fair supply chains to be a priority, they could let their shopping habits speak louder than their words. Technologically speaking, we are not far off from a point where price tags could also include a QR code that has a geotagged history of all the places the item has been.
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