Apple discovered 17 violations of its Code of Conduct during a 2009 audit of 102 manufacturers and suppliers, including the employment of underage workers. Apple issued a report, posted on its Website, detailing the violations and the steps taken to correct them. Apple also used the report to emphasize how it trains workers and supervisors in meeting the company's standards for safety and labor, including rights and obligations under contract law.
Apple found numerous violations during a 2009 audit of its suppliers and
manufacturers, according to a recently issued 2010 progress report on supplier
responsibility. Facility locations included China,
the Czech Republic,
South Korea, Thailand
and the United States.
"Apple audits all final assembly manufacturers every year, regardless
of their location and past audit performance," the report reads. "We
select component and nonproduction suppliers for audits based on risk factors,
such as the prevailing conditions in the country where a supplier facility is
located and the supplier's past audit performance."
The 2010 report has been posted on Apple's Website and can
be found here.
Despite spending a large portion of its page count detailing
those violations and the steps taken to correct them, the report also
emphasizes the training that workers and managers supposedly undergo to meet
the company's standards for safety and labor.
"Apple now requires our final assembly manufacturers to train all of
their production workers, supervisors, and managers who work on Apple
products-and we have updated their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to include
the number of workers trained," the report mentions at one point,
detailing how worker training extends to the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct,
preventing work-related injury, and workers' rights and obligations under labor
contract law. "In 2009, more than 128,000 workers were trained in their
rights and obligations, and more than 5,000 supervisors and managers were
trained in their responsibilities as managers."
But after auditing 102 facilities in 2009, with 80 first-time audits and 22
repeat audits, Apple found 17 of what it termed "core violations" to
its Supplier Code of Conduct, including "eight violations involving
excessive recruitment fees; three cases where underage workers had been hired;
three cases where our supplier contracted with noncertified vendors for
hazardous waste disposal; and three cases of falsified records provided during
Three facilities had hired 15-year-old workers "in countries where the
minimum age for employment is 16." In addition, auditors found that 11
other workers had been hired previous to reaching that legal working age. Apple
claims that it required "each facility to develop and institute
appropriate management system-such as more thorough ID checks and verification
procedures-to prevent future employment of underage workers."
In addition, Apple found that three facilities had noncertified hazardous
waste companies performing their cleanup, and ordered them to stop shipping
waste and hire certified vendors. On top of that, three facilities had
falsified records with regard to underage workers and working hours; Apple
stopped conducting business with one of these facilities.
"When a core violation is detected," the report added, "we
require that the facility remedy the situation immediately and implement
management systems that ensure sustained compliance. In addition, the facility
is placed on probation, usually for a period of one year, ending with a [re-audit]
to ensure the core violation has not reoccurred."
previously received attention for its suppliers' conduct in July 2009
after an engineer at iPhone and iPod manufacturer Foxconn fell to his death
from the twelfth floor of his Shenzhen apartment building after an iPhone prototype
went missing. That engineer, Sun Danyong, had previously claimed in a text
message to a friend that he had been interrogated and beaten by Foxconn
security after the device disappeared. Apple claimed that Foxconn had
previously passed inspection in many areas.