Monday, March 5, 2012

Case study no 4

The last case we discussed was about Gibson Guitars.

There was a big scandal that showed that the Rainforest Alliance, that had audited Gibson Guitars actually had received between 315,000-390,000 dollars each year from them.

In August they were raided by the US Federal Fish and Wildlife officials for suspected violations of the Lacey Act - which forbids US companies from importing wood obtained from illegal sources. This was not the first time they were raided but the company CEO is very clever in how he answers for them and make it sound like the government is actually gonna push the jobs abroad by doing this. However, I do not see what the US government would gain by pushing jobs abroad?

On top of this many musicians claim that there is no such good guitar as one made of these woods but they might not be aware of that mahogany, rosewood and ebony are more and more difficult to find. The following is quoted from this article:

Any guitar lover knows that quality wood is a vital component to a great instrument. But not all are aware that the wood used to make most guitars comes from rare, ancient, and disappearing forests. To address this concern, a handful of guitar manufacturers and musicians have partnered with the environmental group Greenpeace to promote sustainable logging practices in forests that provide wood for the instruments. “This is both a public relations effort and an effort to do the right thing for our kids,” Henry E. Juszkiewicz, chief executive of Gibson Guitar in Memphis, Tennessee, told the New York Times

It might be so that the law is too bureaucratic in this case, but the focus should be on the endangered wood species. Here you can find a FAQ on Gibson's website about the woods being used. As a consumer I can understand it is very confusing to know what is a responsible choice. Quote from here:

"While everyone might be pointing the finger at Gibson as the dodgy guys, the question is why is everyone buying this stuff?" said Poynton of the Tropical Forest Trust. "We all bear responsibility. Musicians bear responsibility."

I'm hoping that Gibson will start working on finding alternatives, in class we were also discussing the possibility for them to perhaps do some restoring or recycling of old guitars.

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