“Greenwashing”, “fairwashing”… These terms in vogue summarize the new marketing strategies of brands which loudly claim sustainable and responsible practices to convince customers to buy their products.
An often biased communication, which nobody can verify in general as the production chain is complex and spread over many sites.
A complaint will nevertheless be filed today at the tribunal de grande instance (TGI) of Paris against Samsung France and its parent company, Samsung Electronics Co, by the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir and the NGO Sherpa.
According to them, the Korean electronics giant "persists in bad practices", using deceptive business strategies by not respecting its stated ethical commitments, as much in external communication, in particular advertising, as in internal financial documents.
Child labor, hellish rates ...
The complaint is based, specifies the UFC-Que Choisir, on "the overwhelming findings of NGOs, such as China Labor Watch and Amnesty International, and journalists who frequently pin down Samsung suppliers on the inhuman working conditions of their workers. ".
The complainants cite "child labor in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hellish work rates in China with suspicion of forced labor by an ethnic minority, the exposure of employees to products toxic chemicals in South Korea… ”
In counterpoint, the association and the NGO denounce the values that Samsung displays on its website for French consumers and on which the electronics giant claims to defend "responsible management" including "the entire supply chain. ".
In short, there would be a gap between the discourse and the reality that persists, and that the complainants want to see sanctioned.
This is the third time that the Korean group has been the target of a complaint for fairwashing, literally "ethical laundering".
The first complaint, in 2013, was unsuccessful, that of 2018 is still under investigation.
To legitimize its action, the consumer association refers to a survey according to which, she says, “90% of those questioned declare that they appreciate more groups which have a good social responsibility policy (CSR) than those which do disinterested ”.
Aware of this development, manufacturers have adapted their speeches, not necessarily their practices.
“Samsung, slip the association and the NGO, cannot hide behind its suppliers, except to reduce its commitments to a hiding place and above all to betray consumer confidence.
Samsung did not respond to our requests.