Tim Cook's Email to Apple Staff Regarding Supplier Responsibility Report

tim cook headshotEarlier today, Apple released its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, an annual report that was supplemented for the first time by a public list of over 150 companies that supply components and manufacturing services to the company.

As related by French site MacGeneration, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following email to company employees today addressing the developments on the supplier responsibility front:

Team,

We've just released our sixth annual update on conditions in Apple's supply chain, and I want to personally share some of the results with you.

We insist that our manufacturing partners follow Apple's strict code of conduct, and to make sure they do, the Supplier Responsibility team led more than 200 audits at facilities throughout our supply chain last year. These audits make sure that working conditions are safe and just, and if a manufacturer won't live up to our standards, we stop working with them.

Thanks to our supplier responsibility program, we've seen dramatic improvements in hiring practices by our suppliers. 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. We found no underage workers at our final assembly suppliers, and we will not rest until the number is zero everywhere.

We've also used our influence to substantially improve living conditions for the people who make our products. Apple set a new standard for suppliers who offer employee housing, to ensure that dormitories are comfortable and safe. To meet our requirements, many suppliers have renovated their dorms or built new ones altogether.

Finding and correcting problems is not enough. Our team has built an ambitious training program to educate workers about Apple's code of conduct, workers' rights, and occupational health and safety. More than one million people know about these rights because they went to work for an Apple supplier. Additionally, Apple offers continuing education programs free of charge at many manufacturing sites in China. More than 60,000 workers have enrolled in classes to learn business, entrepreneurial skills or English.

Finally, we are taking a big step today toward greater transparency and independent oversight of our supply chain by joining the Fair Labor Association. The FLA is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving conditions for workers around the world, and we are the first technology company they've approved for membership. The FLA's auditing team will have direct access to our supply chain and they will report their findings independently on their website.

No one in our industry is driving improvements for workers the way Apple is today. I encourage you to take some time to read more about these efforts, so that you can be as proud of Apple's contributions in this area as I am. The details are online now at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

Tim

Today has been a busy day on the environmental responsibility and worker rights fronts for Apple, with the company also announcing a partnership with the Fair Labor Association to monitor conditions at suppliers' facilities and an expanded recycling program in the UK, Germany, and France. News also surfaced today regarding Apple's efforts to transition to halogen-free power and USB cables for its products.

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Top Rated Comments

mjtomlin Avatar
161 months ago
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.

Because Steve Jobs never caved into the "bragging" mindset that all expect. He knew Apple was doing the right thing and that's all that mattered to him. This is what infuriated Green Peace the most - that Steve Jobs never gave them what they wanted... an environmental roadmap, which is how Green Peace rates companies; not on what they do, but what they promise to do whether they do it or not, which seems really stupid.

I think being the former "supply guy," Tim Cook is more in tune with what's expected and more willing to be transparent about it, especially since he's the one that made it happen.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thetexan Avatar
161 months ago
Or you could take some of those billions of dollars you're sitting on and those new billions of dollars in profits you make and work with suppliers to open some factories in the US.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miles01110 Avatar
161 months ago
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
admanimal Avatar
161 months ago
Good to see Tim caring about human atrocities, unlike his predecessor.

They may have just joined the FLA, but Apple has been doing supplier responsibility reports since 2007.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bisz Avatar
161 months ago
I'm liking all of the communications we've seen from Tim, he seems like a great guy to lead Apple.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Thunderhawks Avatar
161 months ago
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.

I don't think it took Tim to become CEO to do this.

These programs were most likely in place already, just not used for PR.

Impossible that even under Jobs Apple wouldn't monitor its suppliers.

Apple is too smart for that.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)