Apple Outlines New Ban on Bonded Labor at Supplier Factories in 2015 Progress Report

Apple on Wednesday released its 2015 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report [PDF] and updated its Supplier Responsibility website, giving new details on its efforts to improve the lives of the workers that assemble its products.

For its ninth annual progress report, Apple conducted 633 audits covering more than 1.6 million workers in 19 countries, and called an additional 30,000 workers to survey them on working conditions.

One of Apple's main achievements in 2014 was putting an end to bonded labor. In October, the company told all of its suppliers that as of 2015, no worker employed on an Apple line could be charged recruitment fees. Employees have, in the past, faced significant fees levied against them by third-party recruiters, who offer them a job at an Apple factory in exchange for money. In some cases, they lose their passports until they're able to pay the fee.

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Apple previously prohibited excessive recruitment fees (defined as anything higher than a month's net wages) and required suppliers to reimburse any such fee, but the new ban goes further, preventing all bonded labor. Any supplier who uses bonded labor will need to repay all foreign contract workers in full going forward if they incur recruitment fees.

Apple also made progress eliminating conflict minerals (those that benefit armed groups associated with human rights violations) from its supply chain. As of 2014, 135 smelters have complied with the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, and another 64 are in the process of verification. Four smelters would not commit to the program, and will be removed from Apple's supply chain.

Apple achieved 92 percent compliance with its 60-hour maximum workweek mandate. On average, employees worked under 49 hours per week, and 94 percent of all workweeks included at least one day of rest every seven days.

There were 16 cases of underage labor uncovered at six facilities in 2014, and in all cases, suppliers were required to pay for the worker's safe return home, continue to pay wages, and pay for education at a school chosen by the worker.

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A 16-year-old enrolled in Apple's Underage Labor Remediation Program, at school in Henan province, China.

Apple often finds itself in the spotlight over the conditions at the factories where its product components are produced, but the Cupertino company has for many years held its suppliers to a strict code of conduct that prevents underage labor and provides safe, comfortable working conditions for workers. Apple's Supplier Responsibility Team conducts supplier audits on a regular basis so that Apple can continue to work towards improving conditions at supplier factories.

Top Rated Comments

batchtaster Avatar
78 months ago

Apple spends Billion on ridiculous solar farms but can't pay the workers a living wage in other countries.

One thing Apple is not is a humanitarian company which is why they spend a lot of time trying to tell everything they are.

These are not Apple employees. They're employees of Apple's contractors - contractors who, surprisingly, contract their services to whatever company pays them to manufacture their widgets. You don't see Microsoft, Amazon or Sony, who are current and past customers of Foxconn, actively working to make these contractors lift their game. It's like if one of the customers of the company you work for came in and said "hey, we don't think you're paying him enough, and the coffee you provide is crap."

Why do you think it's called "Supplier Responsibility"?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bunnahabhain Avatar
78 months ago

Apple spends many billions on ridiculous solar farms but can't pay the workers a living wage in other countries.

One thing Apple is not is a humanitarian company which is why they spend a lot of time trying to tell everything they are.

You would think that Apple could use that money they spend on solar farms to help pay better wages and provide EXCEPTIONAL working conditions. After all, it is these folks that are the bread and butter of Apple.

I am sure I will get bashed, but unfortunately as much as I love Apple products, this is the sad truth.


Oh boy, where to start.

1) You do realize that none of these people are in fact actual APPLE EMPLOYEES?

2) Apple does not claim to be a "humanitarian company". And what does that term even mean? In fact, I know of no company that does. This is simply a straw man argument.

3) Nothing stopping you from flying over to China and handing out $20 bills to employees leaving the factory. Anything is easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.

4) People only get bashed for making stupid claims while trying to act superior.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
78 months ago
As all companies should be doing, bravo Apple. Obviously there is still much to be done, but I'm glad they are stepping up.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
teslo Avatar
78 months ago

Ehhhhh. Sorry but this is still ridiculous. They were blessed with one rest day after seven working days? Terrific. How nice of them. :rolleyes:

These poor souls are being exploited. Just call it what it is. Please. Thanks.

Whatever though, as long as the obnoxious shareholders and hedge fund crooks are happy.... That's all that really matters.


take it up with China's leaders.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macboy Pro Avatar
78 months ago
Apple spends many billions on ridiculous solar farms but can't pay the workers a living wage in other countries.

One thing Apple is not is a humanitarian company which is why they spend a lot of time trying to tell everything they are.

You would think that Apple could use that money they spend on solar farms to help pay better wages and provide EXCEPTIONAL working conditions. After all, it is these folks that are the bread and butter of Apple.

I am sure I will get bashed, but unfortunately as much as I love Apple products, this is the sad truth.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
78 months ago


You would think that Apple could use that money they spend on solar farms to help pay better wages and provide EXCEPTIONAL working conditions.


So what's the theory? Apple voluntarily offers to pay more for the parts and the supplier companies decide to pass it around and not just keep that as extra profits?

How's that supposed to work, exactly?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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