Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
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Increase in suppliers lead to more labor violations for Apple

Increase in suppliers lead to more labor violations for Apple

The company conducted 756 supplier assessments in 30 countries, 197 of which were visited for the first time in 2017. "High performers", or those with a score greater than 90, also increased to 59% over 2016's 47%. The violations uncovered in 2017 included three bonded-labor violations, 38 violations of falsifying working hours, one access restriction violation, and two underage labor violations. Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers.

Apple has been criticized for years over its supply chain, a collection of hundreds of companies making components and assembling iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.

In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers recruited from the Philippines were charged a total of $1 million (£720 million) to work for a supplier. Unfortunately, in 2017, Apple saw the number of major violations at its suppliers double over the year prior. The supplier is required to undergo regular audits to ensure the reviewed policy is implemented to prevent future violations.

Apple claims the breaches are driven by the addition of several new suppliers, alongside better tracking methods.

Apple stated in an introduction to the report that it ranks its supply chain sites by its performance - low, medium, or high - as compared to "the industry's most rigorous set of standards". In 2017, low-performing sites in our supply chain decreased by 71 percent, while the number of high-performing supplier sites increased by 35 percent.

Apple’s 12th annual Supplier Responsibility report details the company's progress and new initiatives
Apple’s 12th annual Supplier Responsibility report details the company’s progress and new initiatives

This is the twelfth year Apple has released such a report. The report also highlights new programs promoting health and education awareness among other things.

Apple on Wednesday released its latest Progress Report on Supplier Responsibility, an annual accounting of the working and environmental conditions in its supply chain, often in developing nations where enforcement of labor laws and environmental regulations is weak.

Demand for audit services is growing and more companies are using them to assess their supply chains. CLW reported instances of student interns putting in more than 80 hours per week. "Upon reaching legal working age, they will be offered a job at the supplier facility they departed, should they wish to return".

It also has a Zero Waste Program, and in the two years since it launched, all of Apple's Chinese and Indian final assembly locations have achieved Zero Waste certifications, and its newest facility will get certification this year.

A China Labor Watch-distributed image of workers in a training program at a supplier facility. The annual report looks at how Apple's many suppliers are "treating people with dignity and respect, providing advancement opportunities and conserving out planet's resources", all "fundamental to how an Apple product is made".

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