No intentional underage labor found in 229 audits of Apple's overseas suppliers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Apple on Friday released its annual supplier responsibility report, and revealed that there were fewer cases of underage labor at its overseas partners in 2011, with no intentional underage hirings.



The number of instances discovered at Apple's suppliers were greatly improved in 2011, even as Apple significantly ramped up its number of audits. In all, 229 audits were conducted throughout the supply chain in 2011, an 80 percent increase from 2010.



Those audits discovered six active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at five facilities. In each case, Apple said, the facility had insufficient controls to verify the worker's age, or to detect false documentation.



In those cases, Apple required that the suppliers support the young workers' return to school. The iPhone maker also worked with suppliers to improve their management systems, like recruitment practices and age verification procedures, to prevent future instances of underage labor.



"We have a zero-tolerance policy for underage labor, and we believe our system is the toughest in the electronics industry," Apple said in highlights from the report. "In 2011, we broadened our age verification program and saw dramatic improvements in hiring practices by our suppliers. Cases of underage labor were down significantly, and our audits found no underage workers at our final assembly suppliers."



For comparison, last year's annual report found 49 underage workers at 9 facilities overseas. One of the facilities was responsible for most of the child labor instances, with 42 underage workers.



Upon discovering those violations in 2010, Apple required the supplier to support the workers' return to school. It also terminated business with the offending facility.











The latest 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which is now available for download from Apple, includes the details of more than 100 first-time audits.



"We continue to expand our program to reach deeper into our supply base, and this year we added more detailed and specialized audits that focus on safety and the environment," Apple's summary reads.



The audits included detailed reviews at 14 facilities conducted by third-party environmental engineering experts. Those environmental were in addition to the standard audits Apple has conducted for years now.



Apple also noted that the company continues to offer education opportunities at suppliers' facilities free of charge. More than 60,000 workers have taken advantage of this and enrolled in classes.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    China is trying to make up for 100 years of industrialization in the West. Labor abuse is bound to come up on that road. The industrialized nations have been through it before. Really, though, the Chinese government should enforce these policies, not make it te responsibility of foreign firms like Apple. I get the impression that child labor is a bigger deal to the West than it is to the Chinese. Is that the case?
  • Reply 2 of 32
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    I think the key word in the title of this article is "intentional". Like it's ok then right?
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post


    I think the key word in the title of this article is "intentional". Like it's ok then right?



    ? Uh, no. The implication there is that if any was found, it wasn't on purpose and was summarily dealt with.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    ? Uh, no. The implication there is that if any was found, it wasn't on purpose and was summarily dealt with.



    same lines with force prostitution
  • Reply 5 of 32
    Since under age seems to be defined as under 16 years (I checked one of the reports), I'd like to know how many of these have families or would drop out anyways from school. It's not worthwhile for everyone to finish high school. Some people can make a living without a high school education. And I've met a few 16 year olds who were married with kids and supporting thier family with a construction job - one was a tile flooring installer, making good money. Yeah, I was shocked when he told me had a wife and 2 kids at his age, but if he's happy and contributing to society, who am I to judge. And this was in Canada.



    I'd be more concerned with kids under the age of 14.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I wonder how many audits Dell, Samsung, HP, and HTC have done?
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Heck, farm kids in our countries used to be pulled out of school in the fall just a few decades ago (if it's still not happening), to help with the harvest.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    dualiedualie Posts: 331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Leonard View Post


    Heck, farm kids in our countries used to be pulled out of school in the fall just a few decades ago (if it's still not happening), to help with the harvest.



    I was basically free labour for my Uncle when was a preteen. It was bloody hard work for a 8-11 year old I can tell you, and very long days too. For no pay, except room and board.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    6 active and 13 historical cases. What I'd like to know is how many employees (I'd bet tens of thousands or more) work at factories making Apple devices.



    Frankly I thought the number would be much higher. I can imagine lots of 15-16 year olds without credentials applying for jobs.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Not surprising at all. Apple's products are always top notch, and everyone knows children have no sense of quality.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    umm...stating the obvious much? I mean, would Apple come out and say "Hey, we hire underage kids, deal with it"??? Like seriously, what would you expect them to say?
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Like many, I've also worked over 24 hours straight when we had a deadline to meet, many Americans can relate to this. So yes, during a busy season there will be crunch time when you have to put out, but I cannot say it is abuse. An overworked worker only has a measly 30% efficiency while a rested worker will have over 90%, Foxconn knows this and they will give their workers rest for the selfish sole purpose of efficient productivity.



    Even in China, employees can quit and work somewhere else, the experience and talent the individual has dictates his salary and the speed at which he can find a job. Some chinese workers get paid very well, because the talent is hard to find.



    However, this is unlike the WalMart sweatshops which require few talented and scores of mindless work on products that require little QC, Foxconn's workers are of a different class from the WalMart workforce.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    I started working in a retail pharmacy at the age of 14 part time - worked part time for a year or so before that at my church/school doing things like painting and cleaning and yard work (on a yard that was about a quarter acre. Before that I had a paper route of my own - and before that helped my brothers with their routes - so probably started around 11 or 12 - and have always held myself to the highest quality standards I was able to deliver.



    In the good ole US of A - child labor laws and many other reforms were an offshoot of the prohibition movement. The women who organized that contributed quite a bit towards standards of living in this country - even if Prohibition itself was ill fate and likely was responsible for many a crime syndicate getting their start.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    I was basically free labour for my Uncle when was a preteen. It was bloody hard work for a 8-11 year old I can tell you, and very long days too. For no pay, except room and board.



    My brother drove the farm tractor at 12 and I'm pretty sure he lugged around bails of hay (or straw). My mom drove the wheat truck to collect wheat from the combine. Farming was and still is a family affair. I was too young at the time, being just 6 or 7.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    The industrialized nations have been through it before.



    In fact our ancestors probably had it tougher. The factories back then were not producing electronic components in clean conditions, but operating coal-fired steam engines and such.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    China is trying to make up for 100 years of industrialization in the West. Labor abuse is bound to come up on that road. The industrialized nations have been through it before. Really, though, the Chinese government should enforce these policies, not make it te responsibility of foreign firms like Apple. I get the impression that child labor is a bigger deal to the West than it is to the Chinese. Is that the case?



    While employee abuse is tragic, this is what happens when you have "less government". Republicans in the U.S. scream at the top of their lungs for this - to let the free market ride and fall where it may. I tend to agree to a point. You can't leave it up to the companies, who only want to make a profit. Even the U.S. government didn't do much at first; It was the employees themselves who stood up and began forming unions and then new laws were passed to make sure employers recognized employees rights to organize. It's unfortunate that those unions eventually become just as corrupt and greedy and the corporations - driving manufacturers to other countries where unions aren't recognized and labor costs can be very low. This is where companies like Apple need to step up and make sure their supplier is treating their workers fairly. Should it be Apple's responsibility? I believe it should. They have a moral obligation to make sure the parts used in their products are only made of sweat, not blood, sweat, and tears.



    Consumers also have the same responsibilities, but most would rather pass the blame onto the companies (or governments).
  • Reply 17 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I wonder how many audits Dell, Samsung, HP, and HTC have done?



    Should matter but it doesn't. Apple is the top dog now in the technology sector. The top dog always gets put under a microscope. Because of its popularity, its size, its presence in the minds of the public, its brand recognition, Apple will be the one dragged through the streets and lynched when a political point needs to be made. Comes with the territory. It shows how important Apple is these days.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Leonard View Post


    Heck, farm kids in our countries used to be pulled out of school in the fall just a few decades ago (if it's still not happening), to help with the harvest.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    I was basically free labour for my Uncle when was a preteen. It was bloody hard work for a 8-11 year old I can tell you, and very long days too. For no pay, except room and board.



    My uncles told me how my grandfather sent them to work in other farmer's fields when they were teenagers. The neighboring farmer paid my grandfather directly for the labor. My uncles never saw a dime of it.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post


    I think the key word in the title of this article is "intentional". Like it's ok then right?



    Intentional, as in wrong doing by the company. If you forge documents to get a job as a minor then that isn't the company's fault unless they find out and do nothing about it. At that point that would be intentional and make the company liable.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I wonder how many audits Dell, Samsung, HP, and HTC have done?



    Throw in Microsoft in there too. Still, how many articles about that foxconn xbox plant protest had Microsoft in the headlines. i couldn't find any. And i'm talking headlines.
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