iPhone 5 rumors: online petition asks for “ethical” iPhone

Consumer watchdog group SumOfUs is asking Apple to “make the iPhone 5 ethically” and “overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers” before the iPhone 5 is released.

More than 35,000 people signed the petition in the first 24 hours it was available, according to SumOfUs.

The petition reads: “Can Apple do this? Absolutely. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in The New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen.”

“I use an iPhone myself,” Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs, said in a statement. “I love it, but I don’t love having to support sweatshops, and neither do millions of other Apple consumers. The hip, educated market that Apple aspires to corner is largely composed of responsible consumers who don’t want to be complicit in sweatshop labor.”

Last week, The New York Times reported about the extreme working conditions from Apple’s overseas manufacturers, triggering questions on whether the Cupertino giant is looking solely for profit.

Apple has yet to comment on these reports. However, the company’s CEO Tim Cook reportedly sent an internal memo denying the accusations.

“We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us,” reads the letter, which was obtained by 9to5Mac.