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© Apple Electronics Production | March 09, 2018

Trouble in paradise – Apple finds more supplier problems

The Cupertino company says that it has found a higher number of serious violations of its labor and environmental policies for suppliers as its audits expand.
In its Supplier Responsibility – Progress Report, the company states that in 2017 it conducted 756 audits; spanning 30 countries and covering suppliers representing 95% of total spend. Of these 756 assessments, 197 were initial assessments where Apple visited facilities for the first time.

The company ranks the facilities on a 100-point scale based on its performance in relation to the Code of Conduct. A score of 90 to 100 is what’s called a high performer, and a score less than or equal to 59 is would then be a low performer. A score between 60 to 89 represents the medium performers.

“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. Last year, 26 percent of our total number of assessments were initial assessments,” the company writes in the report.

An interesting note is that while the grading of the facilities points to a positive development, the company uncovered 44 core violations in labor and human rights in 2017 – double the amount that the company found in 2016. 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.

“In 2017, we assessed 756 facilities and nearly 1.3 million people and uncovered two cases of underage labor. The two underage employees were ages 14 and 15. In both cases, individuals used false identification to gain employment,” the company writes in the report.

One of the biggest violations found by the company in 2017 came up when three suppliers were identified with foreign contract workers who were charged recruitment fees. In each case, the supplier was required to repay the recruitment fees in full to all impacted workers. In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers were recruited from the Philippines to work for a supplier through a private employment agency. This resulted in excessive placement fees of more than USD 1 million. Apple says in the report that it forced the supplier to repay the money.

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May 11 2018 10:46 am V9.5.4-1