Apple has, for the very first time, released a report of its suppliers. There are 156 suppliers listed in the PDF the company published (available here), including big names like Sony, Intel, Samsung and Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.), which dragged Apple’s name into the light over questionable labor practices, when fourteen of the company’s workers plunged to their death at the Foxconn factories in 2010.
Since then, the company has been under increased scrutiny, with critics saying it should to be more transparent about the working conditions throughout its supply chain. Today, Apple appears to have answered its critics’ calls.
For more on Foxconn, read John Biggs’ four-part series, “The Future of Foxconn,” here.
With the newly released series of reports from Apple, there’s not only a listing of suppliers, there are also details of Apple’s supplier audits over the course of the past year. In its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report, Apple says it found fewer labor violations in 2011 than in 2010, based on 229 audits it conducted last year. That’s an 80% increase from 2010. From 2007 to 2010, in fact, the company had only conducted 288 total audits.
The report examines all areas of the supply chain, from components to assembly. There were, as you may expect, several labor violations. These included pay violations, issues with employee benefits, environmental hazards, and even some incidents of child labor.
A few standout numbers:
Despite these numbers, disturbing as they may be, Apple says things are improving.
For comparison purposes, in 2010, there were 91 underage workers found working in 10 facilities, Apple disclosed. This year, the company says it found “no instances of intentional hiring of underage labor,” and that facilities simply didn’t have sufficient enough controls to verify age or detect fake documents.
Apple is also opening up access to an independent team of auditors from the Fair Labor Association (FLA), to review its ongoing performance in these matters. The results of those reports will appear on FLA’s website.
The company also expanded its Apple’s Supplier Employee Education and Development (SEED) program to all final assembly facilities. This program, which allows workers to take free finance, computer, English and other classes, has already been taken by over 60,000 workers.
Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook Air) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod, the...