Apple 2020 Supplier Responsibility study focuses on challenges of coronavirus in the workplace

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apple-supplier-responsibility-report
Apple's 2020 Supplier Responsibility progress report focuses on protecting its supply chain partners in a new world of COVID-19.
Photo: Apple

Apple released its 2020 Supplier Responsibility progress report Thursday detailing what steps it is taking to increase safety and protect supply chain workers worldwide in the shadow of the ever-challenging coronavirus outbreak.

Written by Sabih Khan, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, a letter accompanying the report in PDF details changes that Apple has made to protect its supply chain partners, such as strict adherence to social distancing, limiting density, and health screenings.

Apple trumpets its plans for fixing factories

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Terry Gou
But there's a definite chance of further delays.
Photo: Foxconn

Apple this week acknowledged it is still battling poor working conditions and environmental violations with some of its overseas supplier factories, but highlighted programs to solve ongoing issues, according to a company audit.

Apple’s annual Supplier Responsibility Report addressed conditions at 756 sites in 30 countries last year and scored facilities based on its Code of Conduct.

Apple Touts Suicide Nets In Supplier Responsibility Report, But Changes Little

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Worker suicides are still a problem for Foxconn.
Worker suicides are still a problem for Foxconn.

The main point of performer Mike Daisey’s powerful one-man show about Apple and its Chinese factories is that in China, it’s cheaper to have people make products rather than have machines make those products. As a result, people are treated like machines. They perform the same tasks, day in, day out. They work excessively long hours and if they break down, they are discarded. Most tellingly, if they try to commit suicide, the factory puts up big nets around its buildings to catch them. Nothing about the work or the workplace is changed.

It’s these nets that Apple touts in its just-published Supplier Responsibility report, which details the progress it has made during 2011 in imposing standards on its overseas contractors. The report discusses child labor, factory poisonings and conflict materials. A whole section is devoted to the suicides in 2010 at Foxconn, its largest overseas supplier.