Piano Keyboards

Shopping guide to Piano Keyboards, from Ethical Consumer.

Shopping guide to Piano Keyboards, from Ethical Consumer.


This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

The report includes:

  • Ethical and environmental ratings for 4 types of piano keyboard
  • Best Buy recommendations
  • Timber issues raised from the instruments
  • Workers rights in forested areas
  • Chemical makeup of keyboards

Research Report Download - includes all the detailed research behind this buyers' guide.

Download this Report now (£3 or free to subscribers).
Free sample report & A-Z list

Customise the scorecard ratings

Click the + icon to expand categories

To save your personal score settings and use them elsewhere around the site, please  Log In.

If you don't already have a log in, you can Register for free.

Help

Score Ratings

Our ratings are live updated scores from our primary research database. They are based on primary and secondary research across 23 categories - 17 negative categories and 6 positive ones (Company Ethos and Product Sustainability). Find out more about our ethical ratings

 

Score table

The score table shows simple numerical ratings out of 20 for each product. The higher the score, the more ethical the company.

Move the sliders to customise these scores. 

Click on a product name to see the stories behind the score (subscribers only). 

 

Full Scorecard

The Full Scorecard shows the 'black marks' for each product, by each of the 17 negative categories. The bigger the mark, the worse the score. So for example a big black circle under 'Worker Rights' shows that the company making this product has been severely criticised for worker abuses.

Scores start at 14.  A small circle means that half a mark is deducted, a large circle means that a full mark is deducted.

Marks are added in the positive categories of Company Ethos and the five Product Sustainability columns (O,F,E,S,A).  A small circle  means that half a mark is added, a large circle means that a full mark is added.

The Full Scorecard is only available to subscribers. Click on the More Detail link at the top of the score table to access it.

 

Customising Rating Scores

Move the sliders to change the weighting given to each category. You can open up each of the 5 main categories by clicking on the + sign. This way you can compare products according to what's ethically important to YOU.  

 

Saving Your Customised Weightings

You must be signed-in to save your customisations. The weightings you have given to each category will be saved premanently (subscribers) or only for this visit to the site (registered users).  Once set, they will be used to calculate the scores in all the buyers' guides that you view. 

 

Stories and Data behind the scores

To see all the stories and research data behind the ratings you'll need to be a subscriber.

You must be signed-in to save your customisations. The weightings you have given to each category will be saved premanently (subscribers) or only for this visit to the site (registered users).  Once set, they will be used to calculate the scores in all the buyers' guides that you view. 

 

Stories and Data behind the scores

To see all the stories and research data behind the ratings you'll need to be a subscriber.

How the Sliders work
Move the sliders to see how different issues affect the score table
Refine each category by clicking the + icons
Save your settings (you need to be signed in first)
Key to expanded Score table

Best Buys

as of November 2006


As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that company ratings on the score table may have changed since this report was written.


Casio (020 8208 7829) came out best on the table. Another option would be a Korg (01908 857100) or Roland (01792 702701) made in Japan or Italy because Casio models are all made in China with no supply chain policy in place to protect workers' rights.


He that pays the piper calls the tune

Katy Brown investigates the musical instrument industry and discovers some disharmonies.

This report covers electric piano keyboards. The four keyboard companies in this report are all Japanese.

 

Workers' rights

Korg and Roland both manufacture keyboards in Japan and Italy. Roland also makes keyboards in China. Casio keyboards are all made in China. Yamaha sources its keyboards from Japan, China, Korea and Malaysia. Although unions are allowed in South Korea the government makes effective collective bargaining difficult; complicated legal procedures for organising strikes makes such action hard to carry out and strikes continue to be severely repressed by the government.
The law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) contains preferential provisions in relation to foreign companies investing there, exempting them from many national regulations on labour standards. Keyboards for export are probably made in such zones. In Malaysia there has been a 30-year ban on the formation of an independent industrial union in the electronics industry.(1) From a workers' rights point of view an Italian or Japanese model is likely to have been produced under much better conditions than a Chinese, Korean or Malaysia one. In Japan private sector employers generally respect trade union rights.(1)

Samantha Maher from Labour Behind the Label comments "The industrial 'miracle' in China and South-East Asia may have made clothes, toys and musical instruments more affordable for people here in the UK, but there is no reason why it needs to cost so much in poor working conditions. Companies need to be persuaded to dance to a different tune and make sure their factories are paying workers a living wage. Above all, they should be finding ways that workers can organise to defend themselves when management makes unreasonable demands."

 

Toxic Chemicals

As with all electronics goods there are potentially a whole host of toxic chemicals lurking inside electronic keyboards. Both Roland and Korg have not received any criticisms with regard to their use of chemicals but as they don't produce environmental reports it's hard to tell if they are making progress in this area. Yamaha and Casio have not received such criticisms either but do produce environmental reports. Whilst Yamaha's indicates that the company is aiming to expand the use of lead-free solder in its wind instruments, Casio claims to have largely discontinued its use of lead solder in 2004.

 

Alternatives

Buying second-hand is usually a cheaper and less environmentally damaging option than buying new. Try E-bay or Freecycle (www.ebay.com, www.freecycle.com)

 

Links

  • Forestry Stewardship Council, FSC UK, 11-13 Great Oak Street, Llanidloes, Powys, SY18 6BU Tel: 01686 413916 Email: info@fsc-uk.org www.fsc-uk.org
  • The Global Trees Campaign runs the SoundWood programme, and includes a directory of instruments makers which it endorses and covers a range of musical instruments. (Found in the projects section of its website www.globaltrees.org/proj.asp). C/o Fauna & Flora International, Great Eastern House, Tenison Road, Cambridge, CB1 2TT Tel: 01223 571000 Email: soundwood@fauna-flora. www.globaltrees.org
  • Greenpeace Music Wood Campaign, Greenpeace, 702 H Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001 Tel:+001 202 462-1177 Email: info@wdc.greenpeace.org www.musicwood.org
  • International Labour Organisation, International Labour Office, 4, route des Morillons, CH-1211, Geneva 22, Switzerland. Tel: +41.22.799.6111 E-mail: ilo@ilo.org www.ilo.org
  • Labour Behind the Label, 38 Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1AX, England, Tel: 01603 666160, info@labourbehindthelabel.org, www.labourbehindthelabel.org
  • The Rainforest Alliance, 665 Broadway, Suite 500, New York, NY10012, USA. Tel: +001 212 667 1900 Email: info@ra.org www.rainforest-alliance.org

 

References

1. www.icftu.org viewed 8/09/06
2. www.musicwood.org viewed 8/09/06
3. www.world.casio.com/corporate/ viewed 17/08/06

Navigate To: