Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Apple Releases 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report and Supplier List
In 2011, we conducted 229 audits throughout our supply chain — an 80 percent increase over 2010 — including more than 100 first-time audits. We continue to expand our program to reach deeper into our supply base, and this year we added more detailed and specialized audits that focus on safety and the environment.The company notes that in 2011 it began a dedicated environmental auditing process to supplement the environmental checks that had previously been included in the standard auditing procedure. According to the company, third-party environmental engineering experts helped conduct audits at fourteen different facilities, and some violations were found.
Full details on the auditing results, including summaries of the various violations discovered in environmental and other areas, are available in the complete report (PDF).
Apple for the first time also published a list of 156 suppliers (PDF) representing 97% of the company's procurement expenditures. While no details on each company's role in Apple's supply chain is offered in the document, merely identifying the supply chain offers some improvement in transparency for the secretive company.
Update: The Wall Street Journal has a story on Apple's disclosures, including quotes from CEO Tim Cook.
"I have spent a lot of time in factories over my lifetime and we are clearly leading in this area," said Mr. Cook, previously Apple's chief operating officer who oversaw its supply chain. "It is like innovating in products. You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem." [...]
The report found 108 facilities didn't pay proper overtime wages and 93 facilities had records that indicated more than 50% of their workers exceeded the 60-hour work week. The audits also found 5 facilities had incidents of underage labor.
"Working hours is a complex issue," said Mr. Cook, adding he's confident the company can improve in the area by "monitoring these plants at a very, very micro level."
"I know this is a journey," Mr. Cook said.