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Apple taps academics to advise Supplier Responsibility program

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Looking to further its efforts to improve working conditions within its worldwide supply chain, Apple is turning to a community of academics, establishing an academic advisory board to study and recommend courses of action to the iPhone maker.


Map showing rough distribution of Apple's supply chain. Image via ChinaFile


Apple has tapped Brown University Professor and Watson Institute director Professor Richard Locke to chair an all-volunteer group of professors. The group first convened six months ago, according to The Watson Institute for International Studies.

The group will be tasked with studying and making recommendations to Apple about current policies and practices, conducting and commissioning new research on Apple supply chain labor standards, and sharing existing research to improve supply chain labor standards. The members of the academic advisory board will themselves be responsible for doing the research that goes into their recommendations to apple. That research will be submitted to rigorous academic review, and it will result in publicly available working papers, as well as published journal articles.

In addition to Locke, the members of the board include Mark Cullen (Stanford University), Eli Friedman (Cornell University), Mary Gallagher (University of Michigan), Margaret Levi (University of Washington), Dara O'Rourke (University of California, Berkeley), Charles Sabel (Columbia University), and Annelee Saxenian (University of California, Berkeley).

Speaking on the appointment, Locke said that he hoped the advisory board's work would result in changes to Apple's supply chain so that its millions of workers "are paid living wages, work within the legal work hour regimes, [and] work in environments that are safe and where they can express their rights as citizens."

Scrutiny of Apple's supply chain has grown at a rate commensurate with the popularity of the products that supply chain generates. Apple has for years published extensive reports on its supply chain, rolling out a "Supplier Code of Conduct" that lays out expectations on labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management systems.

This year, Apple terminated its relationship with Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics when an audit found that the supplier employed underaged workers. Apple's most recent Supplier Responsibility Report found that 99 percent of workers in its supply chain comply with a 60-hour work week limit. That figure was up slightly from the tally in September, which found 97 percent of workers at 60 or fewer hours per week.
post #2 of 8
"Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics"...

Uh huh. Real Faith. And they call Apple a cult.

"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
Reply
post #3 of 8

I am indeed a fan of Apple. I applaud this approach.

 

I wish Target and Walmart would do something similar and conduct a study of its worker's conditions/pay here in the United States.

 

It is immoral that they can get away with only hiring part-time workers, at a non-living wage with little or no medical benefits. 

post #4 of 8

They could stop using a known sweatshop (Foxconn) to assemble their products.  That would be a good approach too.

post #5 of 8
Sadly, there are too many instances of poor work conditions within some countries in order to supply popular products for global consumers. As a consumer, if you want to make a change, stop worrying about how cheap things are and worry more about where your money is going. Don't whinge if the price of your iPhone/iPad/iPod/iMac/MacBook etc goes up.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I am indeed a fan of Apple. I applaud this approach.
White wash only goes so far protecting the fence.
Quote:
I wish Target and Walmart would do something similar and conduct a study of its worker's conditions/pay here in the United States.
There is nothing wrong with Walmart nor Target employment practices. They both have a big problem shifting junk but that is another discussion.
Quote:
It is immoral that they can get away with only hiring part-time workers, at a non-living wage with little or no medical benefits. 
How is that the case? Many of those employees are specifically looking for part time work. What would you have them do hire people to sit around for a good portion of their shift doing nothing.

Lets face it the average Walmart employee isn't the brightest apple in the basket. They wouldn't even be employable in most modern manufacturing plants. Nobody in this world deserves a job, it is something earned.
post #7 of 8
[/SPOILER]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

They could stop using a known sweatshop (Foxconn) to assemble their products.  That would be a good approach too.

The opinion of Foxconn is significantly different in China. People line up for jobs there. The problem with America is most people have no concept of what work is anymore. Going to work shouldn't mean using half your free time to cruise the Internet.
post #8 of 8
According to the generally reliable Electronic Intifada (a pro-Palestinian news site), Apple pays a lobbying firm in Washington that has had some dubious clients: weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, Coca Cola, the murderous regime in Colombia. Its newest client is the military regime of Egypt, which came to power in a coup and has since massacred hundreds of its opponents.

The Glover Park Group (GPG) "is a natural fit for the Egyptian military regime, given the close ties and cooperation it maintains with Israel, and the fact that a Democratic president is in the White House."

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/egypt-coup-regime-hires-israel-linked-washington-lobby-firm?utm_source=EI readers&utm_campaign=c564da57b1-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-c564da57b1-290761033

Was I naive to think that while Microsoft generally backed regressive political actors (with some window-dressing through the Gates Foundation), Apple was on the liberal side? HP is one company facing a worldwide boycott movement; I hope Apple doesn't merit such opprobrium in future.
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