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New report shines a light on systemic governance failings of leading tech companies

Progress indicator

Published: 4 Sep 2018

Report reveals alleged cases of child labour, forced labour, and human rights violations.

  • The average tech company RRI score is 39/100 - compared to an average among a random sample of 20,000 companies of 20/100.
  • Facebook’s RRI as at June 2018 is 64.
  • Facebook, Google and Apple collectively recorded a combined 223 cases of alleged human rights violations in an 18-month period.
  • 452 alleged violations of national regulations have been recorded against Google, Apple and Samsung, in the same period.

For the first time the failings of the tech sector is laid bare. Previously, individual companies have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, but it is now clear that this is a sector-wide and systemic problem.

Estelle Clark, CQI’s Director of Policy

A new report released today by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) - ‘Technology on Trial, Do the world’s leading technology companies have a governance problem?’ – has detailed the extent of the allegations against the world’s Top 14 tech companies, along with numerous other household tech names, between January 2017 and June 2018.

The Rep Risk Index (RRI) measures a company’s risk exposure to environmental, social, and governance (ESG)  

Working with RepRisk, a leading ESG data science company and CQI corporate partner, the Institute has compiled the Technology on Trial report to highlights evidence of systemic governance failures in the leading tech companies.

The report delves deeper than the anticipated governance issues surrounding privacy and tax, highlighting alleged forced labour practices, health and safety violations, corruption and fraud, and tax evasion cases in the tech sector.

Estelle Clark, Director of Policy at the CQI, comments: “For the first time the failings of the tech sector is laid bare. Previously, individual companies have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, but it is now clear that this is a sector-wide and systemic problem."

Estelle said: “We have found a sector mired in governance violations, more akin to the first industrial revolution, than companies at the vanguard of technological advancement in the 21st Century. We should be expecting the tech sector to set new, higher, standards for governance rather than lagging way behind”.

This report records allegations of child labour linked to Inc, Apple, Samsung and other household names. Amazon had an RRI as at June 2018 of 64, marking it out at the worst-performing company on the index. In 2018, children as young as nine were allegedly forced to work in US-based, manufacturing facilities supplying the online retailer.

The report also details alleged privacy violations, focusing on Google (49 violations), Facebook (73 violations), and LinkedIn (15 violations), among other tech companies. LinkedIn has been allegedly linked to numerous data breaches, and the exposing of up to 48 million detailed profiles.

Estelle concludes: “This report is a warning shot. It isn’t good enough for the boards of these companies to say “we didn’t know”. Those who sit on the board have a responsibility, to know what is going on in their businesses, their divisions, and their supply-chains. The biggest companies must act as the standard bearers for corporate governance. Their boards must question their role in the communities they operate in and their impact on society”.

The Technology on Trial media briefing can be viewed from 07:00 UK time on The CQI Facebook page on Wednesday 5th September 2018.

Notes for Editors:

About The CQI

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) is the chartered body for quality professionals. We are the only professional body dedicated to Governance, Assurance and Improvement – helping quality professionals enhance the reputation of organisations around the world.  We work to advance the practice of quality management in all sectors, improving the performance of organisations by developing their capability in quality management. In partnership with executives across the globe, we support organisation-wide objectives, including the development of good governance, agile assurance and a culture of continuous improvement. We have defined these standards through the CQI Competency Framework, which sets out the abilities and types of behaviour that quality professionals need to be successful.

Please see for further details. © 2018 the CQI. All rights reserved.

Media Enquiries to:

The CQI Press Office, [email protected] Natalie on 07539 761 125 / Joe on 07880 381 667 / Tom on 07739 403 956

Download your copy of Technology on Trial today