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  • Apple's Annual Supplier Audit Reveals More Than a Few Disturbing Discoveries


    Apple has published its 2011 Supplier Responsibility report as part of the company's ongoing efforts to ensure "the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are made." Notwithstanding, a number of disturbing violations bubbled to the surface.

    According to the audit, Apple learned that some 49 underage workers were employed at 9 different foreign-located facilities. 42 of those workers, however, were stationed at just one of those production facilities. In light of the disturbing discovery, Apple has since ended its working relationship with that facility. Additionally, Apple "required the supplier to support the young workers' return to school and to improve their management systems to prevent recurrences."

    A well known and documented health scare was also addressed in the audit. In early 2010, more than 100 workers at a Wintek facility received medical treatment after being exposed to the poisonous chemical n-hexane gas. Following the regrettable event, Apple says it mandated the facility to halt any and all usage of n-hexane gas and to promptly remedy a number of factory deficiencies, including the plant's ventilation systems.

    As the report notes, there were also instances of bribery - situations that similarly resulted in terminated business dealings. But more unsettling, without question, was the rash of suicides at Foxconn, the Chinese facility that represents Apple's largest overseas manufacturer. Throughout 2010, news of seemingly habitual suicides at the Shenzhen, China plant put both Foxconn and Apple in the headlines.

    According to the audit, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook ventured to the controversial plant as the process of addressing the suicides began in earnest. In addition to meeting with executives at Foxconn and candidly addressing the matter, Apple obtained the assistance of various suicide prevention experts who similarly assessed the conditions of the plant and its workers. The panel of experts "commended Foxconn for taking quick action on several fronts simultaneously, including hiring a large number of psychological counselors, establishing a 24-hour care center, and even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides." As expected, a full slate of recommended improvements were also outlined to the executives at Foxconn. "Apple will continue to work with Foxconn through the implementation of these programs, and we plan to take key learnings from this engagement to other facilities in our supply base," the report concludes.

    Apple conducted a total of 127 audits in 2010, 97 of which were first-time audits. To read the full report, click here.

    Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple's Annual Supplier Audit Reveals More Than a Few Disturbing Discoveries started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      What?! They hired psychologists? Why didn't they use some of their 330+ billion and improve the working conditions? Maybe I'll buy HTC products from now on. I'm just glad someone other than Glen Beck is reporting this now, took long enough.
    1. i3urger's Avatar
      i3urger -
      Oh damn apple should get sued!
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Yeah I don't think I'm buying another Apple product any time soon.
    1. i3exa's Avatar
      i3exa -
      sad to know this kinda stuff happens but people will still overlook it and buy apple products....
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      Apple products are like blood diamonds...

      Blood Diamonds = Labor Exploitation

      "Labor exploitation has also been linked to blood diamonds. The scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond the movie isn’t too far from the truth where African miners are exposed to atrocious living conditions and even worse working conditions. They don’t have shoes, gloves, hard hats or flashlights, and their tools - picks, ropes – are simple and do nothing to relieve the back-breaking work. Mine shafts are unsecured and very dangerous. Accidents are frequent and many miners have been buried alive in these pits. At the end of a full workday, miners get paid less than a dollar. Finding a diamond may only get them $50."

      Any similitude with apple is pure coincidence.
    1. Wilbourn's Avatar
      Wilbourn -
      This is peanuts compared to other companies who manufacture their products in countries where there are little to no regulations on safe working environments. Not saying this is ok but y'all saying apple products are like blood diamonds and that y'all will never buy an apple product because of this are fooling yourself if you believe this is only defined to apple lol.
    1. jonnyraincloud's Avatar
      jonnyraincloud -
      um helloo, all electronics are made overseas,
      apple is one of the few companies that self requlate:
      "Apple has since ended its working relationship with that facility."

      Microsoft or dell would have turned a blind eye.


      also: inb4SH1Tst0rm
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Not to mention several of the other points that Apple wants done upon finding certain things out. Like:

      Additionally, Apple "required the supplier to support the young workers' return to school and to improve their management systems to prevent recurrences."
      At least Apple is trying to help fight against these things.
    1. Rob_Quads's Avatar
      Rob_Quads -
      While the report has its minor values its virtually meaningless without some comparison. How does this compare to other companies? This could be a very good result, it could be a vey bad result.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      For everyone saying their not going to buy Apple anymore because of this get off your high horse. Do you actually think this only happens overseas with Apple?? The same thing can be said about almost any major company with factories, but at least Apple's doing something about it and reporting it. Can't say the same about too many other big corporations.

      I've had some big wigs from major companies come to my Business Management Lectures course. When they talk about taking over at an overseas plant to increase revenue and productivity they all say that the first thing they had to change were working conditions. And the stuff that Apple has reported was normal for them to see unfortunately. But it's nice when someone takes over that actually cares about working conditions and makes a change. Every little bit helps.
    1. ReggieSmith's Avatar
      ReggieSmith -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      Yeah I don't think I'm buying another Apple product any time soon.
      Right... As soon as the next device hits you'll be right in line.
    1. ReggieSmith's Avatar
      ReggieSmith -
      But wouldn't it be really cool if these American companies actually made SOME of their products here in the states? Sure they wouldn't make as much of a profit, but they would still make a profit of the product was good.
    1. bcondemi's Avatar
      bcondemi -
      Apple created the situation by Having their products made elsewhere. Bet they would never consider manufacturing in the U.S. Cause it would cost too much. They knew this would happen in China...it always does.
      BC
    1. crankz1's Avatar
      crankz1 -
      China labor will soon be to expensive for even Apple to want to pay.
      It won't be long before all the little golden stickers say Made in Vietnam.
    1. Hyperextension's Avatar
      Hyperextension -
      If you're going to stop buying Apple products because of this, and other issues like it, you had better throw out all your running shoes and don't even think about stopping at a WalMart ever again. Or how about Old Navy and their subsidiaries who refuse to use North American Oil for their vehicle fleets because of the impact on the environment. They are using middle east oil instead. Can you think of a more corrupt barrel of oil than ones from the middle east?

      Child labour and poor labour standards are terrible, but there are always factories that use it. So happens that these factories are all overseas.

      How about these big companies like Apple eliminate it all and start building these things in the USA and/or Canada?

      In the end...that is what happens overseas. If not in an Apple plant, it will be in some other plant. We all want reasonable prices, so the manufacturers have to make it as cheap as possible.
    1. NSXrebel's Avatar
      NSXrebel -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      What?! They hired psychologists? Why didn't they use some of their 330+ billion and improve the working conditions? Maybe I'll buy HTC products from now on. I'm just glad someone other than Glen Beck is reporting this now, took long enough.
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      Yeah I don't think I'm buying another Apple product any time soon.
      Quote Originally Posted by bcondemi View Post
      Apple created the situation by Having their products made elsewhere. Bet they would never consider manufacturing in the U.S. Cause it would cost too much. They knew this would happen in China...it always does.
      BC

      GTFO of here, you know you will still buy their products. Like others have said, other companies are worse.
    1. DukeNukem's Avatar
      DukeNukem -
      Kudos to Apple for being both proactive and forthecoming.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by ReggieSmith View Post
      But wouldn't it be really cool if these American companies actually made SOME of their products here in the states? Sure they wouldn't make as much of a profit, but they would still make a profit of the product was good.
      If you want to pay double the price then they will gladly make it here.
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      i commend apple for tackling these issues and not sweep them under the rug and ignore them
    1. EdmundGerber's Avatar
      EdmundGerber -
      Quote Originally Posted by NSXrebel View Post
      GTFO of here, you know you will still buy their products. Like others have said, other companies are worse.
      So that makes it OK?

      Once a year apple goes and checks up on this stuff - they should be there 24/7!