Reports claiming that Apple has been cutting component orders over weak demand are still open to question. But here’s a new report that is anything but, seeing as it comes straight from the horse’s month.
According to the company itself, Apple has cut ties with a certain supplier over underage labor. Apple says as much, and more, in its latest Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which it has just released.
“Our Supplier Responsibility Progress Report provides the results of our 2012 audits,” says Apple, “including the work we’re doing to correct issues and improve our suppliers’ performance.”
In the report, Apple states that it had terminated its business relationship with Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ). PZ, which is a major producer of circuit board components, was found to be harboring 74 cases of underage labor.
Specifically, these cases involved workers under age 16, thereby violating Apple’s Code of Conduct.
What’s more, Apple discovered that the labor agency Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd. (Quanshun) was responsible for recruiting underage workers for PZ.
“In fact, to obtain the workers,” Apple says in its report, “this agency conspired with families to forge age verification documents and make the workers seem older than they were.”
For the report, which also covers important issues other than underage labor, Apple conducted 393 audits at all levels of its supply chain. This number includes 55 focused environmental audits, 40 specialized process safety assessments, and 27 targeted bonded labor audits.
In particular, tackling the issue of excessive work hours, Apple obtained an average of 92 percent compliance with a maximum 60-hour work week.
To learn more about Apple’s latest findings, click here to read the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report in full.
In relation to this, recall that last year, Apple became the first tech company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA). At Apple’s request, the FLA conducted the largest-scale independent audit in its history, covering an estimated 178,000 workers at Foxconn.
As a result, by the end of last year, the labor conditions at Apple’s largest manufacturer were reported to have improved significantly.