Huawei is a major developer of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including facial recognition. In 2021, a Huawei patent emerged which discussed “a system that identifies people who appear to be of Uyghur origin among images of pedestrians”.
The software could send a “Uyghur alarm” to government authorities when its system identified members of the oppressed minority group, which could help facilitate the ongoing imprisonment of Uyghur people in forced labour camps.
The company has operations in several countries on Ethical Consumer’s list of Oppressive Regimes, including Pakistan, Egypt, Myanmar, Mexico, Russia and Turkey.
Huawei received our worst Supply Chain Management rating, and also lacked a stringent policy surrounding conflict minerals.
Huawei received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for Tax Conduct, due to having holding companies (a high risk company type for tax avoidance) in Hong Kong and The Netherlands, both of which are considered to be tax haven jurisdictions.
In March 2022 Huawei was also criticised by Reuters for tax avoidance practices, in an article titled "India accuses China's Huawei of tax evasion - government source". The article said "An Indian tax investigation into China's Huawei Technologies has found the telecoms equipment maker manipulated account books to reduce its taxable income in the country”.
Huawei fails to publish information about how much its top executives are paid. As a company with an annual revenue above £1bn, it got marked down half a mark for lacking transparency around directors’ pay.
Huawei received a worst rating in our Climate Change category because it has published very little information about what future actions it plans to take when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.
It received a worst rating for the Pollution & Toxics category because it hasn’t published any policies related to the use of harmful chemicals such as PVC, brominated flame retardants or phthalates in its products, all of which are common in the electronics sector.
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