This article is part of our Rising Stars Portfolio series.
Should consumers have to choose between "moral consumption" and the coolest technology? Timberland's
Swartz's blog is called Rantings of a Responsible CEO, and this particular post, highlighted by ZDNet, centered on responsibility in corporate supply chains. Swartz contended that companies in his own industry have to be transparent regarding supply chain issues, unlike tech companies. He pointed out that such openness from companies like Timberland, Nike
Swartz makes valid points in his criticism, discussing how Apple does seem to get away with pretty unpleasant business concerning the foreign suppliers it relies on. Apple recently admitted that 137 workers had been injured from exposure to toxic chemicals while making iPhone components at supplier Wintek. Then there are the troubling reports regarding Apple supplier Foxconn, which go beyond the company's controversy about worker suicides. Just days ago, an explosion at Foxconn killed three workers and injured others.
Swartz's conclusion comes from a consumer perspective:
Apple should keep exceeding my expectations for products, but not at the expense of my expectations for social and environmental responsibility. They can and must show leadership in sustainability, not just in technology. That would be Thinking Differently.
Granted, Apple's not alone here. Other Foxconn customers include tech heavyweights such as Hewlett-Packard
Clearly, Swartz's criticism of Apple shows that some corporate managements accept the challenge to strive beyond a base sense of purpose toward a higher calling. Calling out other companies to join this vanguard helps change corporate thinking overall.
Moments like this support why Timberland was the first pick for my Rising Stars portfolio, and make me feel even more confident about that decision for the long term. If responsible CEOs' rantings usher in more big ideas like this, I say bring them on.
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The Motley Fool owns shares of Timberland, Apple, Adidas, and Whole Foods Market. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods Market, Timberland, Apple, Adidas, and Nike. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Alyce Lomax owns shares of Whole Foods Market. For more on this and other topics, check back at Fool.com, or follow her on Twitter: @AlyceLomax. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.