Apple Releases 2013 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, Terminates Supplier For Child Labor Violations

Supplier Responsibility Progress Report

Apple has just released its annual Supplier Responsibility Report, a document that sheds light on the Cupertino-based tech company’s findings about its suppliers’ business practices in 2012. It takes into account excessive work hours, underage labor, and environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, including things like conflict-free minerals.

In the report, the company notes that it is the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and had the group audit Apple’s biggest supplier, Foxconn, finding that the Chinese manufacturing company is on track to meet the recommendations of the FLA this year.

Not all in the report is positive, however.

The audit also found that one of Apple’s suppliers, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd., had 74 separate cases of workers under the age of 16, a severe violation of Apple’s own Code of Conduct. The supplier has since been terminated from doing business with Apple.

For the past seven years, Apple has been publishing reports on the audits we perform in our supply chain. We do this because we believe in honestly sharing our findings — the good and the bad. We’re fixing problems and tackling issues that our entire industry faces, such as excessive work hours and underage labor. We’re going deeper into the supply chain than any other company we know of, and we’re reporting at a level of detail that is unparalleled in our industry.

Other highlights from the report? This year’s audit included a 72 percent increase of the number of audits at all levels of the supply chain, covering 55 specific environmental audits and 40 specialized safety audits. Over 1.5 million workers make Apple products, and Apple performed 27 audits focused on making sure that those workers weren’t assessed excessive recruitment fees from unscrupulous recruiting firms.

Apple also reports a 92 percent compliance with a maximum 60-hour work week, as they track more than 1 million workers weekly and publish the data each month to their website. Last year, 1.3 million workers and managers received Apple-designed training about workers’ rights, health and safety, and Apple’s own Supplier Code of Conduct. The company also reports that over 200,000 workers have taken advantage of Apple’s Supplier Employee Education and Development program, which lets workers study business, computer skills, languages, and other subjects at no charge.

It’s an interesting read, and you can grab the full report from the Apple website linked below.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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