Apple has developed very high standards for supplier’s code of conduct for which the company makes efforts to achieve by helping the suppliers. Apple ensures that the workers are briefed on their employment rights and responsibilities and receive fair treatment at work (Green, 2015). Apple also ensures that no form of bonded labor is being deployed by the suppliers to maintain the integrity of the company. Apple has also been consistently involved in reducing the greenhouse and carbon emission to maintain the sustainability.
Training: Apple ensures that workers undergo an extensive training program and over 9.25 million workers have been successfully trained by Apple suppliers (Apple, 2017). The training equips them with the understanding of local laws, code of conduct and safety regulations.
Change: SEED Program
Apple introduced Supplier Employee Education and Development program for the workers through which it provides them skills development training. The program creates job opportunities for the factory workers and offers them a career path.
Fixed working hours: Apple ensures that the workers are not forced to work for more than 60 hours per week and get one day rest in a week. The process has been implemented through work-hour tracking tool along with weekly reporting. The average recorded working hours for Apple have been found to be 55 hours per week (Apple, 2017).
Apple ensures ethical means of sourcing for the products such as tin, gold, tantalum and tungsten. Apple has been able to identify the smelters and refiners who were involved within the supply chain activities of Apple. This has brought a huge change within the company and is a big step to bring peace and harmony over the globe. Apple was able to completely eliminate unethical sourcing activities in December, 2015 (Apple, 2017). Apple has deployed strict audit processes which are conducted by third parties to protect the human rights of civilians (Green SCM, 2015).
Apple has deployed continuous engagement to ensure transparency within the system. Apple has enhanced its regional monitoring and reporting system to acknowledge an insight of mineral supply chain of Congo. Apple has enhanced the supply chain process of gold in the year 2016 and in case the unethical groups try to involve within the supply chain process, the incident gets reported (Apple, 2017). In order to bring complete equality, Apple has allied with some similar companies who are also making efforts to bring positive change within the mineral industry (Chasan, 2016).
Mining in Indonesia: Apple carried out extensive research in Indonesia to find out unsustainable activities being implemented which put workers’ life at risk and polluting of the natural environment including ocean and soil. Apple allied with IDH, ITRI, NGO, Sustainable Trade Initiative and companies using tin, to reform the worsened conditions (Clover, 2016).
Apple has strategically partnered with the suppliers to control the greenhouse gas radiations and pollution from the manufacturing unit. The company introduced Clean Energy Program in the year 2015 to minimize the carbon radiations (Apple, 2017). It also installed 2 gigawatts clean energy in China.
The manufacturing waste was disposed to the lands in the unit of Foxconn Zhengzhou, which is one of the assembling units of Apple. Apple allied with a third-party Underwriters Laboratories to identify the waste streams. A system was generated to regulate the waste material and promote recyclability. The company also explored new methods of inbound packaging and approximately 40% of waste was out to recycle (Apple, 2017). Foxconn Zhengzhou has become 96% land waste free by 2016 (Vincent, 2017).
Code of Conduct for Suppliers: Apple’s code of conduct ensures that the workers are being treated with dignity and equality and work under safe environment conditions.
Audits: Apple conducts supplier audit to ensure that the company’s standards are being adhered to. The audit is carried out by the company with the support of third party. The workers are interviewed and undergo medical checkups to ensure that they work under safe conditions.
The factory of Liuyang develops cover glass for Apple’s products. In one of the Apple’s audit, it was found that the supplier was not following the labor laws and the workers had to work beyond the standard limit. Apple did not penalize the company, instead it helped them to improve the working conditions. Supplier Nikko was able to improve its audit score by 29% after receiving support from Apple (Apple, 2017).
Apple has been able to bring out the following changes through its consistent efforts and hard work:
Apple has taken various measures to carry out its social responsibility and few of them are:
Bonded labor: Apple ensures that no form of bonded labor is being deployed in the manufacturing unit. The company also ensures that the workers do not have to bear recruitment fees which push them into debt. The company collaborated with International Organization for Migration to develop a program that would brief the workers on their rights and responsibilities, terms and conditions and code of conduct (BBC, 2015).
Child labor: Apple also makes sure that no underage worker is being employed at the factory. In case a child is found working at the factory, he or she is provided complete education along with the fulfillment of basic needs. Once they complete their education and have attained the qualified age, they can join the factory.
Creating opportunities: Apple has developed Supplier Employee Education and Development program to help the workers identify and explore new opportunities. They are given training on skills development, HRM, graphic designing and English.
Apple. (2017). Supplier Responsibility: 2016 Progress Report. Apple. Retrieved from: https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/pdf/Apple_SR_2016_Progress_Report.pdf
BBC. (2015). Apple bans 'bonded servitude' for factory workers. BBC News. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31438699
Chasan, E. (2016). Apple Says Supply Chain Now 100% Audited for Conflict Minerals. Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-30/apple-says-supply-chain-now-100-audited-for-conflict-minerals
Clover, J. (2016). Apple Outlines Milestone on Eliminating Conflict Minerals in 2016 Supplier Responsibility Report. Macrumors. Retrieved from: https://www.macrumors.com/2016/03/30/apple-2016-supplier-responsibility-report/
Green SCM. (2015). Green Supply Chain News: Apple Increases Supplier Audits by 42% in 2014. Green SCM. Retrieved from: http://www.thegreensupplychain.com/NEWS/15-02-16-2.php
Green, W. (2015). Apple 'terminated relationships' with 18 suppliers due to sustainability code violations. CIPS. Retrieved from: https://www.cips.org/supply-management/news/2015/february/apple-terminated-relationships-with-18-suppliers-due-to-sustainability-code-violations/
McLean, A. (2016). Apple shows solid progress in latest supplier responsibility report. ZDNet. Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-shows-solid-progress-in-latest-supplier-responsibility-report/
Vincent, J. (2017). Foxconn considers $7 billion US display factory in cooperation with Apple. The Verge. Retrieved from: http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/23/14355668/foxconn-apple-display-factory-7-billion-investment
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