International aid organization Baptist World Aid Australia released its Electronics Industry Trends report that examines working conditions for employees throughout the technology supply and manufacturing chain (via ZDNet). Apple was one of the highest-ranking brands in the report, which includes suppliers in all facets of the supply chain starting with mineral extraction and extending to the end stage of product assembly.
According to the report, Apple scored a B+, placing it just below Nokia, which was the leader with a B+ score on the basis of being able to prove it was paying workers a living wage. Paying a living wage was a key metric, with most of the surveyed companies (97 percent) not able to confirm they were paying workers at a rate that would meet their basic needs for food, water and shelter.
"Apple's inclusion in the top tier may come as a surprise given the public attention it has received for poor working conditions and child labour at Chinese suppliers like Foxconn and Pegatron. In fact, Apple itself reported finding eight facilities using child labour in 2014," said the report.
Apple has made significant progress in addressing poor working conditions in supplier factories, following several high-profile reports of labor violations at manufacturers such as Pegatron and Foxconn. Apple now routinely audits supplier factories and documents working conditions in a yearly report published on the company's Supplier Responsibility section of its website.
Apple has pledged to prevent excessive work hours, unethical hiring policies, and the hiring of underage workers at the factories that supply Apple with parts. The company takes this commitment seriously, dropping suppliers when they are found to be violating its Supplier Code of Conduct.