Apple issues extensive report on supplier responsibility

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple has published an extensive report on supplier responsibility that addresses how the company works to ensure that all of its business partners are fair and socially progressive.



According the report published on Apple's site, "the companies we do business with must provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made."



It outlines that suppliers are all required to commit to a comprehensive "Supplier Code of Conduct" as a condition of their contract with Apple. The Code "outlines a comprehensive set of expectations covering labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management systems."



The report states that the company drives compliance with the Code "through a rigorous monitoring program" that includes "factory audits, corrective action plans, and verification measures."



Beyond monitoring compliance with the Code, the report says the company helps "suppliers meet Apple?s expectations by supporting their efforts to provide training in workers? rights and occupational health and safety.



"To further improve factory conditions, we proactively address industrywide issues through collaboration with our suppliers, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other companies."



Setting expectations with the Code



"Our biggest impact," the report states, "comes when we empower workers, proactively address underlying issues, and hold suppliers accountable for their practices." This program includes a variety of key activities detailed in the report.



First, Apple says that its audits "indicate that suppliers need more specific information to validate that they are meeting our expectations." In that regard, the company says it has "developed seven clarifying standards that address details related to Dormitories, Juvenile Worker Protections, Medical Non-Discrimination, Pregnancy Non-Discrimination, Prevention of Involuntary Labor, Wages and Benefits, and Working Hours."







Empowering workers through training



Second, Apple reports that it has "implemented a social responsibility train-the-trainer program for all of Apple?s final assembly manufacturers," an initiative that has trained more than 133,000 workers, supervisors, and managers "on topics such as occupational health and safety, work-related injury prevention, management obligations, and workers? rights."



Apple says it "collaborated with Verité?an internationally recognized leader dedicated to ensuring safe, fair, and legal conditions in the workplace?to design and deliver a five-day workshop to train human resources staff from all of our final assembly manufacturers."



Basic training covers Apple's own Code and the EICC Code of Conduct, outlining workers' and manager's rights and responsibilities. To continually improve its training program, company is working with "the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving working conditions in factories worldwide."



Beginning in 2008, Apple also began a pilot initiative called the Supplier Employee Education and Development (SEED) program, which set up classrooms of 500 iMacs to help train manufacturing workers. That program includes "progressive English-language courses, associate degree programs linked to three universities, and a selection of computer and technical skills courses."



Apple reports that last year, "a total of 14,800 workers participated in these programs, including 7,120 who took English-language courses and 7,561 who completed technical skills courses. An additional 119 students continue to work toward their associate degrees and expect to graduate in 2010."



Protecting foreign contract workers



Third, Apple claims a "leadership stance in the ethical recruitment and management of foreign contract workers." The report notes that "as a result of our audits and corrective actions, foreign workers have been reimbursed $2.2 million in recruitment fee overcharges."



The reimbursed fees relate to a complex problem related to the hiring of foreign contract workers. Apple says its audits revealed that "some of our suppliers work with third-party labor agencies to source workers from other countries. These agencies, in turn, may work through multiple subagencies: in the hiring country, the workers? home country, and, in some cases, all the way back in the worker?s home village."



These layers of agencies each extract worker-paid fees. "By the time the worker has paid all fees across these agencies, the total cost may equal many months? wages and exceed legal limits?and many workers need to incur significant debt to pay these fees. Apple?s Code has always strictly prohibited all forms of involuntary labor."



Apple says it "met with government officials from Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines to understand their laws and programs around recruitment and management of foreign workers. These programs include direct hire processes that greatly reduce the fees charged to foreign workers by providing government assistance in place of labor agencies."



The report notes that "in 2009, Apple joined two apparel companies and another technology company as founding members of the International Labor Migration focus group facilitated by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). Group members met in Malaysia with NGOs, trade unions, other civil society organizations, and selected shared suppliers?and subsequently kicked off a pilot to improve processes for managing foreign contract workers at two Malaysian factories.



"As a result, the focus group is developing supplier training tools and management resources, which Apple plans to adapt and utilize across our supply base. Under development, for example, is a new hire curriculum to provide foreign contract workers with a cultural orientation and to educate them on relevant laws, hiring and rehiring processes, and their rights in the factory environment."



Monitoring compliance



Fourth, the company reports that it has "continued to increase the number of facilities audited for compliance with Apple?s Code, completing onsite audits of 102 facilities in 2009, for a total of 190 individual facilities audited since 2007."



The report details that "in 2009, Apple conducted audits at 102 facilities, including annual audits of all final assembly manufacturers, first-time audits of component and nonproduction suppliers, and 15 repeat audits of facilities where a core violation had been discovered.



"During most of our audits, suppliers stated that Apple was the only company that had ever audited their facility for supplier responsibility."



The report also highlighted that, "in general, annual audits of final assembly manufacturers show continued performance improvements and better working conditions. One of these facilities had a number of new violations relating to our new standards, and we are working with the supplier?s management to implement corrective actions."



Apple says that "In 2009, our audits identified 17 core violations: eight violations involving excessive recruitment fees; three cases where underage workers had been hired; three cases where our supplier contracted with noncertified vendors for hazardous waste disposal; and three cases of falsified records provided during the audit."



Of the core issues, 98% of suppliers were in compliance. The report details issues that were discovered in audits, and what measures were taken to address those problems.



Monitoring the source of materials used in manufacturing



In addition to issues related to workers, Apple also reports that it "requires our suppliers of tantalum capacitors to certify they use only materials that have been produced through a socially and environmentally responsible process. In 2009, we extended our certification requirement to tungsten used in iPhone vibration motors."



The supply chain for these materials "consists of many types of businesses?including mines, brokers, ore processors and refiners, component manufacturers, and board assembly manufacturers?before reaching final assembly manufacturers. The combination of a lengthy supply chain and a refining process makes it difficult to track and trace tantalum from the mine to finished products?a challenge that Apple and others are tackling in a variety of ways.



"Apple is an active participant in the Extractives Workgroup, a joint effort of the EICC and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), focused on the extraction of minerals used by the electronics industry and their movement through its supply chains. The group has commissioned the nonprofit organization RESOLVE to map the supply chain for tantalum and tin, and to develop standards that apply throughout the supply chain."



The company invites feedback on its supplier responsibility program and encourages the reporting of possible violations, which can be made to the address: supplierresponsbility@apple.com
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Good job Apple! :-)
  • Reply 2 of 36
    Nice to see!
  • Reply 3 of 36
    I wonder if the two guards who beat up a couple of reporters taking pictures of the Foxconn China plant used to make Apple products come under these guidelines?



    Tried to drag them inside the plant too...no sh*t!



    http://www.businessinsider.com/reute...ppliers-2010-2



    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61G3XA20100217
  • Reply 4 of 36
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post


    I wonder if the two guards who beat up a couple of reporters taking pictures of the Foxconn China plant used to make Apple products come under these guidelines?



    Tried to drag them inside the plant too...no sh*t!



    Come on now - that reporter was not an Apple employee so not covered!
  • Reply 5 of 36
    igeniusigenius Posts: 1,240member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post


    I wonder if the two guards who beat up a couple of reporters taking pictures of the Foxconn China plant used to make Apple products come under these guidelines?





    Likely those sorts of incidents are the inspiration for Apple issuing the document.



    Good for them. More companies should have these types of policies.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmmx View Post


    Come on now - that reporter was not an Apple employee so not covered!





    Only if Princess Di had such security.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    Apple again propels itself years ahead of the competition, now on yet another front and even before (too) bad PR came. As Appl sets high standards on all areas it just becomes harder and harder for the rest to reach it.
  • Reply 8 of 36
    Good!
  • Reply 9 of 36
    Quote:

    Apple has published an extensive report on supplier responsibility that addresses how the company works to ensure that all of its business partners are fair and socially progressive.





    Meanwhile Apple is becoming more and more morally repressive.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    I work for a large global company myself. I can tell you that this kind of certification and audit process is difficult, labor intensive and expensive. Especially when Apple is trying to get into the subtier suppliers of elements. We do that and it is very hard. In our industry traceability is often a requirement - here it is not, so all the more kudos to Apple for taking it on. Nobody except Apple requires Apple to do this. I applaud them for their stance. Very well done. I further applaud them for the disclosure of the findings. There is nothing like the light of day to have a salutory effect.



    I am sure there will be those who will say "not enough" and those who will point to the violations as proof of how evil Western companies are exploiting Asian suppliers. To which I call BS. Here we have a company self-imposing high standards that no law requires them to impose, at their own expense and effort, and disclosing what they found. Don't you think it is the dream of every parts supplier in China to get the Apple supply contract? Now knowing that these are the requirements those suppliers that are on the bubble and competing for business, will be working hard to meet these standards. Well done.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    It outlines that suppliers are all required to commit to a comprehensive "Supplier Code of Conduct" as a condition of their contract with Apple. The Code "outlines a comprehensive set of expectations covering labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management systems."



    I've got news for you, Apple, your suppliers don't give a damn. Their execs probably sign your "Code of Conduct" and then go laugh about it.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jetlife2 View Post


    I work for a large global company myself. I can tell you that this kind of certification and audit process is difficult, labor intensive and expensive. Especially when Apple is trying to get into the subtier suppliers of elements. We do that and it is very hard. In our industry traceability is often a requirement - here it is not, so all the more kudos to Apple for taking it on. Nobody except Apple requires Apple to do this. I applaud them for their stance. Very well done. I further applaud them for the disclosure of the findings. There is nothing like the light of day to have a salutory effect.



    I am sure there will be those who will say "not enough" and those who will point to the violations as proof of how evil Western companies are exploiting Asian suppliers. To which I call BS. Here we have a company self-imposing high standards that no law requires them to impose, at their own expense and effort, and disclosing what they found. Don't you think it is the dream of every parts supplier in China to get the Apple supply contract? Now knowing that these are the requirements those suppliers that are on the bubble and competing for business, will be working hard to meet these standards. Well done.



    Agreed and kudos to Apple!
  • Reply 13 of 36
    OOOoooooo! Look!!! See the draconian measures Apple employs to repress other people! Bad Apple! Bad, bad, bad!



    Studly, the new meds aren't working very well. Let your doctor know hunh?
  • Reply 14 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I've got news for you, Apple, your suppliers don't give a damn. Their execs probably sign your "Code of Conduct" and then go laugh about it.



    FPN - did you in fact read the article or just the headline??
  • Reply 15 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I've got news for you, Apple, your suppliers don't give a damn. Their execs probably sign your "Code of Conduct" and then go laugh about it.



    No, they give a damn even if it's only to the extent that they don't get caught. That's still enough to alter their practices and behavior for the better. Actually, I think you are really just projecting your own sentiments about any type of ethical code.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post


    Meanwhile Apple is becoming more and more morally repressive.



    Morals much like slave holder Hell, I mean Dell? Who is repressed? Companies like Microsoft rip off Apple everyday and you have the gull to say they are morally repressive? Where's you logic?
  • Reply 17 of 36
    he was referring to the arbitrary yanking of all "adult-themed" or jiggly-type apps from its app store.

    that does qualify as pretty morally repressive if you ask me.
  • Reply 18 of 36
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Gosh, you guys are so right: electing not to sell boob jiggle apps totally puts the lie to Apple's efforts to maintain safe and fair working conditions at their contract factories.



    I think Apple should either sell porn or use slaves. One or the other, or they're complete hypocrites.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Gosh, you guys are so right: electing not to sell boob jiggle apps totally puts the lie to Apple's efforts to maintain safe and fair working conditions at their contract factories.



    I think Apple should either sell porn or use slaves. One or the other, or they're complete hypocrites.



    If you really think that this kind of censorship is OK and you really feel "safer" that Apple protect you from apps like this, than something's wrong with you.



    I wonder how shifting parts back and forth over the ocean to exploit the cheap labor can be called "environmental responsible" act.



    Strange world we live in.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Brainless View Post


    If you really think that this kind of censorship is OK and you really feel "safer" that Apple protect you from apps like this, than something's wrong with you.



    I wonder how shifting parts back and forth over the ocean to exploit the cheap labor can be called "environmental responsible" act.



    Strange world we live in.



    Thank you for the string of non sequiturs which had nothing to do with what I said. Strange world indeed.
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