Apple slams BBC report on suppliers, says provided facts were 'clearly missing' from broadcast

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
A corporate memo sent out by Apple executive Jeff Williams reveals that both he and Chief Executive Tim Cook are "deeply offended" by a report that aired on the BBC, alleging poor treatment of workers by an Apple supplier in the Far East.

Foxconn


Williams's memo was sent out to 5,000 Apple staff members in the U.K., and a copy of it was obtained by The Telegraph. In it, the Apple senior vice president said it shared certain facts with the BBC prior to the program's airing, but those details were "clearly missing" from the special that aired on the news channel Thursday evening.

In the program, BBC One reported multiple instances of purported poor treatment of workers on a Pegatron production line tasked with assembling Apple's latest iPhone 6 handset. The investigation by BBC Panorama used hidden cameras to discover a variety of infractions violating Apple's own Supplier Responsibility report, including illegal ID card confiscation, excessive working hours, poor living conditions, and underage workers.

In his email to employees, Williams said that Apple's audits and tracking show that it has achieved an average of 93 percent compliance with its 60-hour workweek limit. The Apple executive admitted that the company can do better, and vowed that it will.

"We know of no other company doing as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions, to discover and investigate problems, to fix and follow through when issues arise, and to provide transparency into the operations of our suppliers," Williams wrote.

The note also addressed criticism that Apple uses tin from Indonesia in some of its products. In the letter to employees, Williams said Apple's team has also visited the same parts of the country shown by the BBC, and that the company is "appalled" by what it found.



"Apple has two choices: We could make sure all of our suppliers buy tin from smelters outside Indonesia, which would probably be the easiest thing for us to do and would certainly shield us from criticism," Williams wrote. "But it would be the lazy and cowardly path, because it would do nothing to improve the situation for Indonesian workers or the environment since Apple consumes a tiny fraction of the tin mined there.

"We chose the second path, which is to stay engaged and try to drive a collective solution."

Williams's comments are similar to ones the company made in February, when it noted the electronics industry as a whole is responsible for over half of the world's tantalum consumption, but it is not a major consumer of tin, tungsten and gold. Without substantial buying power companies like Apple have little sway with smelters or collectors of those minerals.

In its Supplier Responsibility report earlier this year, Apple said it planned to crack down on conflict minerals, especially those sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by releasing a quarterly report listing supplier smelters.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 146

    Sue ‘em for slander and libel, Apple. British laws are militaristically oppressive enough for it to work.

  • Reply 2 of 146
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Sue ‘em for slander and libel, Apple. British laws are militaristically oppressive enough for it to work.




    Is Apple actually denying anything in the report though, or are they just saying that context should have been added (to the effect that they are already doing a lot of work to improve the situation)?

  • Reply 3 of 146
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,632member
    If Apple seriously thinks this is flawed, it should sue.
  • Reply 4 of 146
    For reasons discussed in the prior thread, the BBC is both a shameless, and shameful organization. They could(n't) care less.

    All Apple can do is put its viewpoint out there, and let it fall where it may. The usual suspects who think that 'corporate decency' is an oxymoron will spring out of the woodworks, and there's not much anyone can do about it.
  • Reply 5 of 146

    "In response, we're delisting all BBC apps and content from the App Store and iTunes Store."

     

    If only...

  • Reply 6 of 146
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Good for Apple smacking down the BBC and their biased reporting.
  • Reply 7 of 146
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     



    Is Apple actually denying anything in the report though, or are they just saying that context should have been added (to the effect that they are already doing a lot of work to improve the situation)?


    From the little presented to us, I'd say your comment is correct. However, I don't believe there is a single Far East supplier that works exclusively for Apple so this was basically a hit piece by the BBC. If they wanted to be fair, they would have included the other consumers of these facilities instead of blaming everything on Apple but that wouldn't have created the number of "hits" for the BBC. Of course, the Brits are still pissed we kicked them out of the new world. 

  • Reply 8 of 146
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,640member
    1. We're not pissed.
    2. You didn't.
  • Reply 9 of 146
    crowley wrote: »
    1. We're not pissed.
    2. You didn't.

    (As if you were in any position to speak for all of England...LOL!)
  • Reply 10 of 146
    rob53 wrote: »
    Of course, the Brits are still pissed we kicked them out of the new world. 

    What a moronic comment!
  • Reply 11 of 146
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    British laws are militaristically oppressive...

    Care to explain that statement - enough to justify making it?
  • Reply 12 of 146
    <p>Sue ‘em for slander and libel, Apple. British laws are militaristically oppressive enough for it to work.</p>
    As it would be libel only, I'm sure that Panorama and the BBC would have had all their facts and accusations checked to see if they are covered and have a legal opinion given that they were free to air.
    I await Apple's response to the programme in the UK courts.
  • Reply 13 of 146
    crowley wrote: »
    1. We're not pissed.
    2. You didn't.

    (As if you were in any position to speak for all of England...LOL!)
    it would be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (although in the days of the upstart colony there would be no northern Ireland just Ireland ) so you forgot to add in the Welsh, Scottish and Irish as well.
  • Reply 14 of 146
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    (As if you were in any position to speak for all of England...LOL!)

    Somehow I think he has a better handle on it than rob53.
  • Reply 15 of 146
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,396member

    I don't see what it has to do with Apple. These other companies are just contracted.

    When you go into Subway for a sandwich, you are contracting the creation of that sandwich to one of their labourers.

    Is it now your job to ensure that this labourer gets a fare wage and proper breaks?

     

    No, of course it's not. Same applies with Apple. 

    No other companies do any checks at all regarding all of this stuff so at least Apple try.

    Apple are just a target because they care and make an effort.

     

    If they aimed this same accusation at Samsung, they wouldn't reply because they don't care.

     

    Slagging off Apple is just the media's version of click bait. It's an easy bandwagon to get on instead of researching proper stories.

  • Reply 16 of 146
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post



    1. We're not pissed.

    2. You didn't.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Revolutionary_War

  • Reply 17 of 146
    g-newsg-news Posts: 1,107member

    I find it interesting that the BBC focused their report on Apple. It's not like Foxconn, Pegatron and how they're all called also manufacture pretty much every other mobile device money can buy, with working conditions probably even worse.

     

    Also, if they were interested in a truly relevant story for the UK, why didn't they do an insider report on the NHS? Working shifts of 14 hours over night are normal. Staff are so tired they fall asleep on the job too while singlehandedly taking care of entire labs. Their nightshift pay was just cut by 80% in October, there were even demonstrations in the streets.

     

    Of course the BBC looks the other way. Never bite the hand that feeds you, so they stay well clean of criticizing the government. I love their nature programmes, but from a journalistic point of view, they've totally degraded to a pro-government propaganda outlet.

     

    This Apple story just distracts from the sorry reality in the UK itself.

  • Reply 18 of 146
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,640member
    The USA is not the whole New World. Look north.

    Plus, "you" were not in that war, and "your" country was not alone in that war, so it could hardly be said that "you" did anything like what you say.

    But as I said, no one in Britain really cares. Took more than that one little insurrection to break the hegemony; it took another 130 years.
  • Reply 19 of 146
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post





    The USA is not the whole New World. Look north.



    Plus, "you" were not in that war, and "your" country was not alone in that war, so it could hardly be said that "you" did anything like what you say.



    But as I said, no one in Britain really cares. Took more than that one little insurrection to break the hegemony; it took another 130 years.



    Actually, the final breaking of the UK was America threatening to sell your debt over the Suez Canal. It was a mistake in retrospect, but if you wanted a moment that it became clear the UK was finished as a world power, that was it.

  • Reply 20 of 146
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    While the BBC has its faults, I don't see much difference to The NYT getting a Pullitzer for similarly 'picking on' Apple for the same thing.
    I know this is not going to be popular, but this will only get worse. Last year the NYT, last week antitrust, yesterday Canada, this week the BBC, tomorrow the US govt...and the day after...
    Who can't resist a pop when Apple parades "caring about people" whenever it can - certainly not the media. Then there's all that money. Just having [I]that[/I] amount piling up, is seen as indecent by the majority and [I]they[/I] don't care if it was obtained by fair means since history long ago proved that that is impossible...as far as they are concerned. The size of Apple's pot is almost large enough to justify some mindblowingly assenine legislation precisely aimed at cutting them down to size...and only them. Weirdness is in vogue, especially if served with a portion of schadenfreude at Apple's expense.
    I'm sure Apple are well aware that taking the moral high comes with a cost attached and their responses so far show that they take themselves and the ethos, very seriously. Apple are playing their part in the game,the media plays theirs and in their own time, they'll get around to naming and shaming other major offenders. But Apple will always be at the top of the list.
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