Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Apple Says Workplace Violations Rise Among its Suppliers, But Overall Compliance Improves

Apple releases 2018 Supplier Responsibility Report, highlights progress in India Apple encounters more serious supplier breaches
Frank Williams | 09 March, 2018, 15:42

Indeed, Apple is supplied by a total of 756 supplier spread across 30 countries, most of whom are now adhering to Apple's code of conduct.

This photo taken on May 27, 2010 shows Chinese workers in the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, in southern China's Guangdong province.

Apple expanded the scope of its audit to include more of its suppliers - and with it "core violations" in labor and human rights from suppliers, which range from debt-bonded labor, working-hours falsifications and underage labor.

"In 2017, the majority of violations found were related to improper provision of wages and benefits and working hours violations", said Apple in its report.

The violations include two linked to underage labour, three bonded-labour breaches, when foreign contract workers were wrongly charged recruitment fees, one relating to access restriction and 38 cases of working hour falsifications. It returned $1.9m (£1.37m) of wrongfully collected recruitment fees to 1,558 employees of suppliers a year ago, taking the total amount repaid from suppliers to $30m since 2008. Apple said workers aged 14 and 15 both used false identification to get their jobs.

Apple's efforts to create a greener supply chain resulted in significant progress in 2017.

The number of violations is double that detailed in its previous supplier report, which Apple attitude to a rise in standards of its labour and humans rights performance a year ago, with the number of suppliers assessed as high-performing increasing by 35 per cent.

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Customers queue inside an Apple store in Hong Kong on September 25, 2015.

We believe that everyone making Apple products deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and were proud that nearly 15 million people understand their workplace rights as a result of the work we've done over the years.

In 2014, a BBC probe found factory staff in China were working in poor conditions. In the last 10 years, more than 2.5 million supplier employees have taken education classes, ranging from language skills to software development, and 12,000 are graduating with a degree. The company aims to reach 1 million women at its supplies around the world by 2020.

Apple COO Jeff Williams said that the company is "committed to raising the bar every year across our supply chain"; the company also claimed that the increase in violations was driven by an increase in its number of suppliers.

"A new preventive health care curriculum is encouraging women to focus on their personal health, and hopefully share that knowledge with their families and communities". In recent years, it has conducted an annual supplier audit to make sure worker conditions are up to par.

In a bid to promote health and education among women workers in factories, Apple previous year launched a program in India and China to provide information and access to services that include self-examination for early cancer detection, nutrition, personal care and maternal health.

On Wednesday, Apple also issued its conflict minerals report, which is required by United States securities regulators.

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