Names suppliers and lists mandatory working conditions
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA: Apple Inc. has made the unusual move of revealing its list of worldwide suppliers.
The two-page document has been posted on the company’s website as part of Apple’s efforts to provide transparency into its supply chain practices. According to Apple, “these suppliers represent 97 percent of Apple’s procurement expenditures for materials, manufacturing, and assembly of Apple’s products worldwide.”
The company also provided summaries of its corporate practices with regard to issues of environmental sustainability, workers’ health and safety, and human and labour rights.
In the past few years, Apple has responded to negative public perception after a number of international incidents with suppliers, including worker suicides at Foxconn and explosions at Foxconn’s Chengdu factory (which killed four employees and injured 18) and at the Ri-Teng factory in Shanghai—a subsidiary of Pegatron—where 59 people were injured.
To compile its report, Apple says in 2011, the company “conducted 229 audits throughout our supply chain—an 80 percent increase over 2010—including 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.”
According to its reports, Apple has concluded:
- “This year, our audits of final assembly suppliers found no cases of underage labour. While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier.”
- “In 2011, in addition to our standard audits, we launched a specialized auditing program to address environmental concerns about certain suppliers in China. Third-party environmental engineering experts worked with our team to conduct detailed audits at 14 facilities. We uncovered some violations and worked with our suppliers to correct the issues. We will expand our environmental auditing program in the coming year.”
- “Apple limits factory working hours to a maximum of 60 work hours per week and requires at least one day of rest per seven days of work—except in emergencies or unusual circumstances…We began weekly tracking of 110 facilities where excessive work-hour violations were commonplace. Additionally, we are working with industry experts on a work-hour reduction program that combines training, management consultation, and verification of work-hour systems and practices. While the problem is complex, it is also manageable. Reducing excessive overtime is a top priority for our Supplier Responsibility program in 2012.”
- “We required 112 facilities that were not handling hazardous chemicals properly—for instance, not providing secondary containment for hazardous chemicals or separate storage for incompatible chemicals—to establish chemical management procedures for proper handling and storage of these substances.”
- “We required 69 facilities that were not recycling or disposing of hazardous waste properly to correct their disposal practices and to maintain documentation demonstrating compliance with Apple requirements and applicable laws.”
Apple says it implemented a number of new programs in 2011, including employee assistance programs (EAPs) at three suppliers. These EAPs are similar to the one established at Foxconn and include “access to free psychological counseling, including a 24-hour hotline, to get advice on their personal and professional concerns.”
New requirements have also been put in place to ensure suppliers properly handle combustible dust, which was a factor in both factory explosions.
The full supplier list can be viewed on the Apple website at http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/.