Apple Audit Points to Suppliers Using Child Labor

Apple Inc.’s newly released audit document of its major supplier’s points to child labor practices in China.

The audit reportedly reveals a number of violations including breaches in pay, benefits and environmental practices in plants in China. Apple is known for keeping its supply chain practices a secret, but this marks the first time it has released a list of its major suppliers.

Apple looked into all levels of its supply chain, including final assembly, staff practices and component suppliers.

Apple has plans to grant access to an independent auditing team from the Fair Labor Association. Apple seeks to overcome outside criticism regarding working conditions at factories in its supply chain. "It's a level of transparency and independent oversight that is unmatched in our industry," Apple stated in the audit report.

Apple said it discovered 6 active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at some component suppliers, though they "found no instances of intentional hiring of underage labor."

Instead, Apple says the facilities they investigated had "insufficient controls to verify age or detect false documentation."

The report, which was entitled the "Supplier Responsibility Progress Report" demanded Apple's suppliers to repay workers after it found 67 facilities had docked worker pay as a disciplinary measure.

Apple has ended its business partnership with one supplier and was correcting the practices of another supplier. The report revealed that these two companies were repeat offenders of unethical practices.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently sent out an e-mail to employees stating his own thoughts about the supplier report: "To prevent the use of underage labor, our team interviews workers, checks employment records and audits the age verification systems our suppliers use. These efforts have been very successful and, as a result, cases of underage labor were down sharply from last year."

This matter has connections to the mass suicide threat of Foxconn employees due to unfair company pratices. Foxconn also develops products for Apple Inc.

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