Apple Drops Chinese Supplier for Child Labor Violations
Apple yesterday released its 2013 Supplier Responsibility Report (PDF), disclosing the results of its audit program for 2012 and revealing that it had fired one of its suppliers after finding evidence of 74 underage workers at one facility.
In January 2012, for example, we audited a supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ)￼ that produces a standard circuit board component used by many other companies in many industries. Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16—a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ.
Apple's investigation determined that many of PZ's underage workers had been provided by a local labor agency that had conspired with families to forge age verification documents. As a result, Apple reported the agency to authorities, who fined suspended the business license of the agency while requiring PZ to pay the expenses to return the children to their families.
Apple's report touts a number of other achievements for 2012, including a 72% increase in the number of audits performed compared to 2011, worker empowerment training for 1.3 million employees, and increased compliance with working-hour limitations.
We've previously covered Apple's regular updates on working-hour compliance, noting that the rate had fallen in the September-November period as part of Apple's allowance for voluntary overtime during periods of high demand. Apple's new report reveals that compliance with the standard returned to near its highs in December, with Apple's audits showing 92% compliance for the entire year across more than one million tracked workers.