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Apple's supplier audit finds underage labor & bribery, addresses suicides

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Apple has issued its 2011 "Supplier Responsibility" report, in which the iPhone maker reveals it terminated business with a facility that employed 42 underage workers, and explains how it responded to suicides at a Foxconn plant and n-hexane exposure to 137 workers.

In the annual report, Apple revealed that the company discovered a total of 49 underage workers across 9 facilities overseas. One of the facilities had the lion's share of child labor, with 42 underage workers.

"We required the supplier to support the young workers' return to school and to improve their management systems to prevent recurrences," the 2011 Apple Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report reads. "Apple has terminated business with the facility."

The audit also uncovered one case of bribery, where a facility manager offered cash to Apple's third-party auditors and asked them to reduce the number of audit filings. Apple also ceased business with that factory.

The annual report also dedicates a section the incident in which 137 workers at a Wintek facility were exposed to n-hexane gas, a poisonous chemical that can cause nerve damage and paralysis in humans. Apple required the facility to discontinue the use of n-hexane, to fix its ventilation systems, and to implement improvement to their management systems.

Apple noted that all affected workers were successfully treated, and the company continues to monitor their medical reports until full recuperation. Further, Wintek has paid medical treatment, meals, and foregone wages for sick or recuperating workers, while a majority of the 137 affected employees have returned to work at the same factory.



Another entire section of the report is devoted to suicides at Foxconn, Apple's largest overseas manufacturer. A number of suicides at the company's major plant in the southern city of Shenzhen, China, gained public scrutiny in 2010.

The audit reveals that Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook and other company executives were joined by two "leading experts" in a visit to the Shenzhen factory in June 2010, where they met with Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou. Apple also commissioned an independent review by a team of suicide prevention experts, in which more than 1,000 workers were surveyed about their quality of life, sources of stress, psychological health and other work-related factors.

The independent team commissioned by Apple "commended Foxconn for taking quick action on several fronts simultaneously, including hiring a large number of psychological counselors, establishing a 24-hour care center, and even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides."

The team also recommended improvements at Foxconn, such as improved training of hotline staff and care center counselors and better monitoring to ensure effectiveness. The recommendations were added to Foxconn's long-term plans for addressing employee well-being.

"Apple will continue to work with Foxconn through the implementation of these programs, and we plan to take key learnings from this engagement to other facilities in our supply base," the report reads.

Apple conducted a total of 97 first-time audits in 2010, along with 30 repeat audits for a total of 127 -- the company's most audited facilities in one calendar year. The Cupertino, Calif., hardware maker has audited 277 supplier facilities since 2007.



The company noted that as a result of its "audits and rigorous standards," $3.4 million in recruitment fee overcharges have been reimbursed to workers since 2008 for "involuntary labor." The report noted that immigrants who move from their home country to work in factories in another country are often charged "exorbitant fees that drive them into debt," and that Apple is working to address the problem.
post #2 of 30
Now how long before we see headlines blaring, "Apple admits using child labor, poisoning workers"?
post #3 of 30
I'm sure the trolls will come out in force to spin this story. But I think this story results in another question being asked. What are the other big players - Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Nokia, etc.. doing in auditing the (same??) companies for violations?

Perhaps since the same huge factories in China make products for those same companies too, I bet they simply sit back and let Apple do all the work with audits and they go along for the ride. After all, Apple does all their R&D for the copy-machine folks, might as well let Apple do that too.

I think Apple does more in this regard than the other folks do.
post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Now how long before we see headlines blaring, "Apple admits using child labor, poisoning workers"?

Apple Report Details Supplier 'Core Violations'
Quote:
Apple has released its 2011 report on Supplier Responsibility, a relatively new annual report that compiles results from audits it performs of its component suppliers and manufacturing facilities. Social responsibility at Apple's overseas partners has become an increasingly hot topic lately--fairly or not, Apple has often been singled out over other companies--and the report offers a summary of the progress that Apple's suppliers are making.

As Apple's packaging often so modestly touts, the company's products are usually designed at its U.S. headquarters in California. But like many companies, Apple's products are primarily built by a variety of manufacturers, most of which are located in Taiwan, China, and Singapore. Over the years, stories from these factories of worker abuse, inhumane working conditions, and a Chinese employee committing suicide after losing an iPhone prototype have prompted investigations from both Apple and Chinese authorities. A 26-page complaint lobbied against Apple from 36 environmental groups in China just last month revived the topic again.....

Amid outcry, Apple says it monitors work conditions in China

Quote:
Apple restated its pledge to provide safe working conditions for workers assembling of its products after environmental groups in China released a report criticizing the tech company for failing to be transparent about its suppliers.
Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base, said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu in a statement. The company requires all suppliers to sign up to Apples code of conduct before the contracts are made. Compliance is then monitored through factory audits and measures to correct violations....

Apple criticized by Chinese environmental groups
Quote:
Environmental groups in China have criticized Apple for a lack of regard for its Chinese suppliers, blaming the Cupertino company for poor environmental and work safety standards.

Reuters reported this week that the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) published a critical report on the Apple supply chain, accusing the company of only caring about the price and quality of its products.

Weve found that Apple isn't honouring its commitment in ensuring its supply chains work safety and environmental responsibility and giving dignity and respect to the workers, Ma Jun of IPE told Reuters.....
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
Reply
post #5 of 30
Sounds like Apple is doing a good job of monitoring its facilities. It's unfortunate that they need to be monitored at all. Hopefully, Apple will continue to be vigilant and more companies will follow suit.
post #6 of 30

Just like AppleInsider exaggerates about Android news like that.
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mynameisjoe View Post

Sounds like Apple is doing a good job of monitoring its facilities. It's unfortunate that they need to be monitored at all. Hopefully, Apple will continue to be vigilant and more companies will follow suit.

Exactly, it "sounds like". The report is full of meaningless phrases such as "Apple is applying pressure", "we gained insight" (but probably did nothing) and (my personal favourite) "In addition, some workers (without specifying even a percentage) are able to join onsite associate degree programs linked to Chinese universities."

Overall, the report is very loose and vague and reeks faintly. How many people are there involved in the assembly of Apple's products? Doesn't say. How much do they get paid? Doesn't say. Which facilities did Apple terminate business with (did the company change it's name and re-secure the contract). Doesn't say. Without this kind of information, we're in no position to judge whether this report is truthful or not - it's what Apple wants you to hear and see (check out the air-brushed photos) - and until Apple reports that kind of information, it's safe to dismiss their "supplier responsibility programme" as primarily a PR exercise.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I'm sure the trolls will come out in force to spin this story. But I think this story results in another question being asked. What are the other big players - Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Nokia, etc.. doing in auditing the (same??) companies for violations?

Perhaps since the same huge factories in China make products for those same companies too, I bet they simply sit back and let Apple do all the work with audits and they go along for the ride. After all, Apple does all their R&D for the copy-machine folks, might as well let Apple do that too.

I think Apple does more in this regard than the other folks do.

It would be good if American companies banded together in requiring minimum standards. This would carry more weight than a single company asking/demanding changes.
post #9 of 30
Using cheap, underage labor, and still the iphone costs $600 bucks?
post #10 of 30
I know there will be tons of bashing in this thread but I'm happy with Apple's response and believe in their sincerity to make things right.

I think these incidents are the last thing Apple wants and they'll spend the millions (small sum) to make sure this shit doesn't happen.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by allmypeople View Post

I know there will be tons of bashing in this thread but I'm happy with Apple's response and believe in their sincerity to make things right.

I think these incidents are the last thing Apple wants and they'll spend the millions (small sum) to make sure this shit doesn't happen.

Yep. They will be a lot of bashing of Apple - nevermind that these people will gladly buy other brands whose products are made in the same factories.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

It would be good if American companies banded together in requiring minimum standards. This would carry more weight than a single company asking/demanding changes.

This is a fabulous point.

Assuming some silly lawyer (that the suppliers would inevitably hire) doesn't make an antitrust issue out of it.....
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn.alert View Post

Exactly, it "sounds like". The report is full of meaningless phrases such as "Apple is applying pressure", "we gained insight" (but probably did nothing) and (my personal favourite) "In addition, some workers (without specifying even a percentage) are able to join onsite associate degree programs linked to Chinese universities."

Overall, the report is very loose and vague and reeks faintly. How many people are there involved in the assembly of Apple's products? Doesn't say. How much do they get paid? Doesn't say. Which facilities did Apple terminate business with (did the company change it's name and re-secure the contract). Doesn't say. Without this kind of information, we're in no position to judge whether this report is truthful or not - it's what Apple wants you to hear and see (check out the air-brushed photos) - and until Apple reports that kind of information, it's safe to dismiss their "supplier responsibility programme" as primarily a PR exercise.

Agreed. Shame on Apple. They should do nothing like other companies.

And they need the PR so desperately to approach their goal of being a premium brand. Oh wait, they are already the top premium brand in any industry?

Silly, eh?
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

" The report noted that immigrants who move from their home country to work in factories in another country are often charged "exorbitant fees that drive them into debt," and that Apple is working to address the problem.

This may be a big source of the suicides. I've seen it in Singapore where filipinos are charged ridiculous amounts by employment agencies. These were graphic designers, 3d animators and architects who were promised a good wage but shown the small print when they arrived.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by allmypeople View Post

I know there will be tons of bashing in this thread but I'm happy with Apple's response and believe in their sincerity to make things right.

I think these incidents are the last thing Apple wants and they'll spend the millions (small sum) to make sure this shit doesn't happen.

Yah, I prefer my slaves to be of a certain age too.

And kudos to Apple for drastically ensuring the demise of the United States of America. 4 Million people on food stamps, real unemployment around the 25% range, debt to GDP ratio of 96%,... but hey, as long as their PR looks good for over-seas sweat shops...
post #16 of 30
And upthread we have the usual, no matter what they do, it is not enough - until Apple single-handedly introduces the "workers' paradise" and the entire line of Apple products that as soon as you are done using them dissolve into recyclable minerals.

The strident demand for details, and the criticism of the wording is so typically reactionary rhetoric from acorn.alert. What is particularly ridiculous is the fact that the commenter is yet another free consumer of the Western commerce feedmill, who is doing nothing or at best ineffectually little compared to the efforts of Apple and other companies who are working against national culture greed and corruption to make their SUPPLIERS workplaces better. This is one step abstracted from even making sure that Apple itself is fair and supportive in its own workplaces.

Oh wait apparently expressing disdain, applying calumny and consuming power-grid wattage to post drivel on the internet is more than enough activism to justify the critique. Yeppers, by golly a few million more like acorn.alert and there will be a real revolution - not.

Oh yeah and of course Apple is single-handedly bringing down the economy of the US by putting 4 million people on unemployment, nice. rain,you need find a real parade to piss on.
post #17 of 30
How about building some of this stuff in America?
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

How about building some of this stuff in America?

Why ?
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

Yah, I prefer my slaves to be of a certain age too.

And kudos to Apple for drastically ensuring the demise of the United States of America. 4 Million people on food stamps, real unemployment around the 25% range, debt to GDP ratio of 96%,... but hey, as long as their PR looks good for over-seas sweat shops...


Bad premise for an argument from someone posting on a computer made in China and probably not even designed here or from an American company.
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Agreed. Shame on Apple. They should do nothing like other companies.

And they need the PR so desperately to approach their goal of being a premium brand. Oh wait, they are already the top premium brand in any industry?

Silly, eh?

No its not silly. Apple should strive to be the best company they can be regardless of the PR outcome.
post #21 of 30
C'mon. Every one knows the nerve gas is only to keep the underaged involuntary guests from leaving the Foxconn happy camp before they have maximized their happiness.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

How about building some of this stuff in America?

They used to, the Apple I was made in the USA, in Paul Jobs' garage (the man who adopted Steve). The first Lisa, Macintoshes, even the first NeXT computers were assembled in the USA. I think they found the market for $10,000 computers very small.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewysBlackmore View Post

And upthread we have the usual, no matter what they do, it is not enough - until Apple single-handedly introduces the "workers' paradise" and the entire line of Apple products that as soon as you are done using them dissolve into recyclable minerals.

The strident demand for details, and the criticism of the wording is so typically reactionary rhetoric from acorn.alert. What is particularly ridiculous is the fact that the commenter is yet another free consumer of the Western commerce feedmill, who is doing nothing or at best ineffectually little compared to the efforts of Apple and other companies who are working against national culture greed and corruption to make their SUPPLIERS workplaces better. This is one step abstracted from even making sure that Apple itself is fair and supportive in its own workplaces.

Oh wait apparently expressing disdain, applying calumny and consuming power-grid wattage to post drivel on the internet is more than enough activism to justify the critique. Yeppers, by golly a few million more like acorn.alert and there will be a real revolution - not.

Oh yeah and of course Apple is single-handedly bringing down the economy of the US by putting 4 million people on unemployment, nice. rain,you need find a real parade to piss on.

As long as your stock is rising it's completely acceptable that your neighbors are being thrown out on the street, in a panic about when and where their next meal will come. Good for you for having your needs met... your more important then everyone else anyways.

'Fuck the unemployed & fuck the hungry - I have money and food'.

I think it was that attitude that your forefathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution. That's the shared value that made America great right? Export all the jobs overseas for more profit, for more people back home to make more money from producing nothing.
Sounds like a completely sound and sustainable business model. It seems to be doing wonders for the economy.
I mean heck, doesn't matter that SJ alone could personally finance the building and moving of all production to the States and still have money left over to buy a small country or two... he's the Time person of the year! He's an American Hero! California has never been in better shape! The Corporate tax loopholes Apple is enjoying has made the State rich beyond their wildest dreams and it's citizens lush with quality of life.

That aside, I would think that for someone who is very soon going to find themselves in the same homeless/hungry situation, you would have a little more empathy.

Let me give you a little advise...
Sell your stocks and start buying agricultural land and seeds. Nutrients that sustain life... there is no app for that.

Or you still buying the bullshit that Obama is going to save you?
post #24 of 30
Take it as truth - leave it as garbage... these blogs are presenting facts that the MSM have stopped reporting on.
At some point, we all have to face our denial.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn.alert View Post

Exactly, it "sounds like". The report is full of meaningless phrases such as "Apple is applying pressure", "we gained insight" (but probably did nothing) and (my personal favourite) "In addition, some workers (without specifying even a percentage) are able to join onsite associate degree programs linked to Chinese universities."

Overall, the report is very loose and vague and reeks faintly. How many people are there involved in the assembly of Apple's products? Doesn't say. How much do they get paid? Doesn't say. Which facilities did Apple terminate business with (did the company change it's name and re-secure the contract). Doesn't say. Without this kind of information, we're in no position to judge whether this report is truthful or not - it's what Apple wants you to hear and see (check out the air-brushed photos) - and until Apple reports that kind of information, it's safe to dismiss their "supplier responsibility programme" as primarily a PR exercise.

You can't satisfy some people no matter what you do. I suspect that even though Apple is trying, which is more than most companies are doing, that no matter what you will never accept Apple's efforts as even adequate while I view them as commendable.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
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Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

You can't satisfy some people no matter what you do. I suspect that even though Apple is trying, which is more than most companies are doing, that no matter what you will never accept Apple's efforts as even adequate while I view them as commendable.

I always wonder what these vocal critics do in their day-to-day lives to make the fates of other better.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

As long as your stock is rising it's completely acceptable that your neighbors are being thrown out on the street, in a panic about when and where their next meal will come. Good for you for having your needs met... your more important then everyone else anyways.

'Fuck the unemployed & fuck the hungry - I have money and food'.

I think it was that attitude that your forefathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution. That's the shared value that made America great right? Export all the jobs overseas for more profit, for more people back home to make more money from producing nothing.
Sounds like a completely sound and sustainable business model. It seems to be doing wonders for the economy.
I mean heck, doesn't matter that SJ alone could personally finance the building and moving of all production to the States and still have money left over to buy a small country or two... he's the Time person of the year! He's an American Hero! California has never been in better shape! The Corporate tax loopholes Apple is enjoying has made the State rich beyond their wildest dreams and it's citizens lush with quality of life.

That aside, I would think that for someone who is very soon going to find themselves in the same homeless/hungry situation, you would have a little more empathy.

Let me give you a little advise...
Sell your stocks and start buying agricultural land and seeds. Nutrients that sustain life... there is no app for that.

Or you still buying the bullshit that Obama is going to save you?

Do you rain on every parade? Since you have all that empathy may I ask what are you doing to help?
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
post #28 of 30
Have any of those criticising this report actually read it?
As far as the under age workers, it concerns one location employing 42 youths and one other employing 1 who has since become of age.
Apple terminated working with the company responsible for the case of 42, where the children were helped to return to their parents and back to school. I do not know what else one can expect from Apple.
post #29 of 30
<Foxconn manager looking down from the top of the building>

"Dock that chink a day's pay for sleepin' on the job!"
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by allmypeople View Post

I know there will be tons of bashing in this thread but I'm happy with Apple's response and believe in their sincerity to make things right.

I think these incidents are the last thing Apple wants and they'll spend the millions (small sum) to make sure this shit doesn't happen.

The way to make sure it doesn't happen is for Apple to own all of their manufacturing facilities, rather than contracting it out. They might not be able to do that in China, but they can do it in Singapore and they can probably do it if they manufactured in India. Public workers in Egypt seem to make even less than workers in China - news reports claim they make only $100 a month, so it seems to me there are opportunities all over the world.

The alternative to that is still contract out, but as part of the contract, Apple employed managers run the operations and take responsiblity for monitoring worker hiring, hours, treatment, etc.

While I appreciate the efforts that Apple seems to have made, I still think that Apple is relying primarily on their manufacturers to do the right thing and that's never going to happen, IMO.
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