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back to article Apple suppliers: Child labor, bribery, suicides

During 2010, Apple audited the facilities and management practices of 127 of its worldwide suppliers, and found instances of underage labor, unsafe working conditions, inadequate safety devices, lack of first-aid supplies, improper handling of hazardous chemicals, excessive recruitment fees, and more. Much more. And if Apple's …

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Happy

Cleaning up for the sake of improved reputation is fine with me.

Lets hope this encourages consumers to pressure other big companies to follow suit.

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Anonymous Coward

It isn't enough

If even a single company exploits its workers, it puts pressure on every other company to do the same. Customers look at the price, and often simply buy the cheapest. The reason for the lower cost may simply be that they exploited some of the worlds poorest people and cut corners on safety and environmental protection.

Industry and business has to work across the board to restore some justice to the world, or we will face catastrophic consequences. It's great that Apple is doing something (for whatever motive) but that alone won't make a difference. I'd like governments around the world to put together a clearer picture of the actions and ownership of large companies, and expose those who are serial exploiters.

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Thumb Up

Customers look at the price, and often simply buy the cheapest...

errr Not if they buy apple they don't.

charging top dollar for products and using 'too cheap' manufacturing aside.

well done apple.

<jk>still control freakery, but in a good way </jk>

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FAIL

Jeez...

Mr Sophistry indeed! Have you got a bee in your bonnet or what?

Never mind, you can feel all righteous, cos you are smart enough to slate what's becoming the world's favourite tech company.

I suppose if Apple discovered a cure for cancer, AIDS, Ebola virus and so on, irrigated Africa's deserts and put a stop to religious bigotry you would STILL slate them with spittle-laden invective.

You say "Bear in mind that after the last time they audited there were still numerous suicides and findings of child labour too."

At least they audit - and the companies concerned aren't working exclusively for Apple.

Where's Microsoft's audit?

Where's Dell's?

Where's Acer's?

Where's HP's?

Need I go on? - or are you allergic to factual reality?

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Jobs Halo

Cynical

Desire for good publicity hardly excludes a humanitarian impulse, - ever thought of that? - and I don't see why Apple shouldn't be given the benefit of the doubt.

I would normally deduct a point for self-publicity ("But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth") but this can only do good. It also gives me pause. Maybe it's my religious duty to audit our Chinese suppliers' welfare standards.

Yet again, as you have so often noted before, the Jobsian cult leads the way. Go Steve.

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FAIL

yes very impressive

That the cult is finaly following in the footsteps of multinationals like ITW which has had strict guide lines for its suppliers for the last 15 years. The Cult. Leading the way from 15 years behind....

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@Cynical

> Desire for good publicity hardly excludes a humanitarian impulse.

>"Apple has terminated business with the facility."

Yeah, round of applause. Having already reaped the benefit of their cheap labour, has Apple taken responsibility for ensuring the welfare of its former child workers?

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Go

Where are the other companies?

It's not like Apple is the only company that manufactures in Chine... Where are the reports from the other companies that do this? Easy for the haters to come down hard on Apple for actually reporting on this stuff... And easy for the press, especially the cynical, British, press to use the Apple name to garner hits but the truth is it has to be better for Apple to highlight this stuff instead of sweeping it under the carpet like the rest are doing.

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cynical also,

so what will Apple do about it apart from publicise their concerns. I'm betting my last hot dinner that this is about as good as it will get. Plenty of hot air to come, no action, situation normal, why fix it if it ain't broke. Anyone know a Yank who'll spend $1 more for their worthless gadget if it saves a life, who cares it's only a $1 , right?

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Paris Hilton

What have they been doing?

Terminating contracts of the worst offenders, training over 300,000 workers on occupational health and safety, worker rights, and local labor laws, trained over 6,000 supervisor and managers on their worker responsibilities, working with suppliers like Foxconn to improve worker conditions... are a few things they're doing. Try reading the report.

What are other corporations these suppliers work for doing? Are other corporations this transparent?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cynical also

Did you read the article? Action has already been taken.

You're not cynical, you're an idiot.

"Anyone know a Yank who'll spend $1 more for their worthless gadget if it saves a life, who cares it's only a $1"

I don't really understand this. Is it supposed to be sarcasm? Seems like a bargain if Apple has done all that and only passed $1 on to it's customers.

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Did you read the full article?

Hot air = yes

Action = already taken

Situation = already improved

Any increase in cost to consumer caused = already reflected

Hot dinner = no more

These working practices aren't going to be eradicated overnight, and the improvements made so far may only be small, but small improvements overall can be made up of life-changing improvements for individuals

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You want some "irony", my friend?

The source of all those leaked stories about n-hexane poisoning, and underage labour (that many "cynical" folks gloated over, during the year, just gone) was... probably these very audits. It would explain the refusal to comment on them, at the time - and, in any case, it appears no one else was actually bothering to look at all.

"Cynical" is one of those words - you know? Like "ironic" (see title)? People like to mislabel their petulant outbursts of naive disappoint as "cynicism", because is sounds better than "impossible to satisfy".

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By the way...

If you want to place a bet, place it with your NEXT hot dinner, not your last one.

So... what's for dinner?

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FAIL

reading is a basic skill

If you had actually bothered to read & parse the article beyond the headline, you'd have learned that Apple:

1. terminated business with a facility that employed under-age workers

2. successfully put pressure on others to improve working conditions (chemicals, suicides)

3. works with two wider industry bodies to improve sourcing

4. has a regular third-party audit program for its suppliers (and is one of the few that have).

saints? no.

business making money? yes.

PS. you owe me a hot dinner - feel free to give it to a homeless person

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Megaphone

Apple's Press Agent

The original article could not have been written better by Apple's Press Agency. It was a masterpiece of sliced and diced statistics. Twisted every manner to reflect the benevolence of the corporation and their master Steve Jobs.

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Jobs Horns

From what we read in Apple's report .... Cupertino is to be commended

Next we'll be asked to believe that Jobs is as a big a philanthropist as Bill Gates actually is.

What a difference between the two: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust whilst Jobs is myopically stashing it away at the cost of cheap labour all over the world.

Let's have real news, not papp churned out by paid hacks trying to improve Apples appearance.

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FAIL

Erm, bzz. Wrong!

"Jobs is myopically stashing it away at the cost of cheap labour all over the world."

Except he's trying to ensure there's no child labour, bad working conditions etc - which is the reason for the report...

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"Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust"

Ooh, the world's richest man (or 2nd richest, whatever) is spending one percent of his fortune on poor people, isn't he nice ?

Well, okay, it's obviously good that he's doing that, but do not forget that he's just spending the interest, not the capital.

So let's not transform him into St Gates yet, shall we ?

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Anonymous Coward

re: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust

Ah yes, the modestly entitled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - note the second name, Gates' missus is actually the driving force behind this.

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Gates Horns

re: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust

Actually, I read an article a while back which said that his father was the driving force behind the foundation, concerned that his son's legacy would be even worse than his reputation. And although Gates would like everyone to think that his foundation does only good, there are some pretty significant questions about some of the organisations he funds (a bunch of creationists at one point, I believe), some of the investments held by the foundation which actually undermine the charitable work, and various cynical agendas in play (where giving computers to people actually ties them to Microsoft - now there's a surprise! - and drug-funding props up the oppressive patent system and leaves developing world countries dependent on hand-outs).

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Anonymous Coward

re: re: Gates is actually...

Ah, that's interesting - I was going on a Radio 4 documentary and Mrs. G seemed to be the driving force at that time. This was in the early days of the Foundation and when a spokesman was asked how much money was being used/invested/given away, he replied that they didn't like to talk in financial terms but "in terms of how much good is done."

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Anonymous Coward

Gates

I wish it I had a monopoly that would give me more money than I could spend so I could then go around the world pretending to be Jesus and curing the sick and needy.

All that wealth has been accumulated by ripping off the computer world for decades. Killing any possibility of competition in the desktop market (even IBM couldn't get anywhere despite a superior OS in OS2/warp).

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FAIL

oh come on..

The dude spent more on ridding the world of malaria a couple of years ago than ITALY for christs sake!

or to put it another way...

what have _you_ done for your fellow man lately?

thought so, and CNN didnt cover it!

go figure

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FAIL

Appearance does not equal intent

Apple got a lot of BAD press for actually being party to child labor, hosting literally suicidal working conditions and other SHITTY business practices. Read that again.... already caught for being party to doing these things. Is it good their improving sure.... in the way that its good a pedophile hasn't molesting any kid recently. The point is Apple will continue to abuse their employees, foreign partner workers and THEIR CUSTOMERS as much as they can get away with it.

So sure yea! apple for putting out nets and maybe actually even looking into the deeper problem.

But really I don't think its unfair or cynical to less than impressed by what appears to be a trumped up report on a totally forced adjustment from a bad behaving company.

Any honest person would visit China themselves, there they would see that they current government and business class will not treat their workers with the minimum amount of respect that we feel humans are due in the US/EU. There is no way to do honest business in China when it is run by a dishonest government. We should start treating the companies that use slave labor in dictator run countries like the turncoats and traitors to our nations beliefs that they truly are.

Companies like Apple and WalMart are at their core NOT good businesses willing to pay an honest wage for an honest days work. They are instead absolute opportunists and exploiters that will cut every corner and dodge every rule they can.

The only good thing is companies like these don't really create anything, they only get compliance because doing things illegal/immoral is actually cheaper than doing it the right way. But that also means they are not self sustainable, the need workers to exploit and customers to swindle to keep going.

IF YOU STOP PAYING THEM MONEY, THEY CAN DO THIS TO PEOPLE ANYMORE!!!

Really simple, if we really care about human rights and all like we all say we do.....

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@Rob Dobs

You seem to have failed to realise these are THIRD PARTY suppliers to Apple AND many other tech companies including Sony, Nokia, etc. I suppose they're also no better than pedophiles in your book?

Apple are not abusing their employees no more than Sony are. Apple aren't putting out nets for suicide jumpers, Foxconn are and in all the drama people like you have also failed to realise Foxconn's employee suicide rate is LOWER than the national average. So if you want a good job in China go work for Foxconn.

You claim to be in support of workers in China yet you slam one major influencer who is actually trying to improve conditions! There's no pleasing people like you, Apple could be saving lives and you'd still rip them apart.

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Stop

Check your facts and meanings

One CNN did cover this - see #1 result on google search for "CNN Bill Gates Malaris" below:

http://topics.cnn.com/topics/malaria

Further, if you make your donations to countries dependent on the same countries government buying M$ products, then you are not really a charity. Gates has been accused by more than one country of tying significant personal financial gain to his "giving".

That is NOT Charity.

Last: Sadam, Hitler, Bin Laden, etc all had lots of money and I am sure have records of charity at times on their record books as well. IT IS SO MUCH MORE CRITICAL TO JUDGE A PERSON BY HOW A PERSON MADE THEIR MONEY THAN BY HOW THEY SPEND IT.

What does it mean that a man who cheated and stole billions gives away hundreds of millions.

I more impressed by a person who works for $22k a year and still manages to give $10 to a charity.

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conformance is not innocence

Third Party still means they are in business together, Apple is funding the endeavor that means they are clearly responsible for what the results are.

I did not compare Apple to pedophiles, mere making the emphasis that you don't reward somebody just because they stop doing bad, or do less bad than before.

"Others are doing it to" has never been a valid moral excuse for anything.

Surely Apple and WalMart are not the only offenders.

Refuse to buy anything stamped made in China, and then things would change.

I did not claim to be in support of workers in China, I wish them well, but they are ultimately responsible for taking over their own fate and installing their own democracy.

To restate: There is no way to do honest business in China when it is run by a dishonest government.

The US and EU should refuse to trade with them until widespread human rights abuses stop and they allow free and fair elections. They don't have to be capitalist, they don't have to be like us, but they should have a similar freedom for their people and respect for human rights. We also shouldn't do business with countries that would blatantly steal and not respect global property rights.

We supposedly believe in the laws that protect workers health and wages in our country. It is hypocritical and cowardly for us to turn around and purchase products from countries that do not respect human life the same as we do for cheaper product prices.

Economics major flaw is that assumes people make informed decisions about which option is better, rather than the real truth that most people make uninformed decisions between the lesser of two evils.

One can make the hollow argument that they would have no jobs if not for Apple, but that would ultimately be better for the people, China would have to formulate a new government that would not abuse its people as a economic resource to be exploited. The American revolution and the US Civil war were both difficult times, but sometimes strife is necessary to improve bad conditions.

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Alert

Jobs did nothing until the jumpers hit the headlines

Apple and Jobs did precious little about working conditions in sub-contractors manufacturing plants before the bad publicity hit the headlines in the West.

Only then, after the NGO's were involved, did he make any attempts to force suppliers to adopt even minimal standards when compared to the West.

The manufacturing could never be done in the West because labour costs are so high: ergo Jobs makes his billions from workers in developing countries.

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FAIL

while im checking that - you go learn to read

I guess you must have been out donating that ten bucks when english was being taught.

(tip establish the subject of the sentance - sorry but it wasnt bill)

way to go on that $10 BTW, after admin fees your donation must have seen a good few cents getting to the needy. that is assuming that any got to them at all (what with the well known religious bias of many charities), although I am sure that you would have been fully aware of all the ins and outs before dropping Aleander Hamilton in the box.

bill cheated and stole? what exactly? Im no great fan of M$, and for sure if IBM hadnt done the bonehead deal that assured M$ market dominance the OS market would prolly be a better place these days. But Im finding it hard to blame bill for that - he did what he was suppsed to do, he won the game.

and now hes curing malaria.

IMHO a GOOD THING and you and your 10$ really should STFU until you know what you are talking about.

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Big Brother

Oh, really?

Do a little more homework on Gates 'Trust' and you'll find philanthropy is a word he cannot spell let alone act upon. Billg's father was a committed eugenicist and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports China's policy which denies each child a brother or sister and encourages forced abortion. In other words ... eugenics!

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FAIL

ah - gotbotherer alert!

now i see.

you dont think that in a world that is massively over populated, where resources of all kinds are running low that it is important to at least try to do something about it.

If you really gave a toss about 'the sancitiy of human life' (or whatever your particular version of schitzophrenic discourse with a god created to explain the existence of feet in the absence of the evidence of the existence of tony {thanks for that tim :D } calls it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DXl68NF_uI

then maybe you would apply a higher priority to improving the living conditions and opportunities of those who are already alive, than worry about doing your best to make the problem worse.

myself? I'm foursquare with Bill - in the boat pissing out. Whats your excuse?

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Alert

RE: Except he's trying to ensure there's no child labour, bad working conditions etc

This report is what Apple has done AFTER being caught with it's pants down after years of abuse.

At least they've made a partial improvement.

Now they can spend time improving the ecology ....

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Grenade

Can't win

Some people will see this as Apple taking a lead as being a responsible company, ensuring it's sub-contractors apply the same welfare/ethic rules as it does.

Others will claim it's just smoke & mirrors, and Apple are only doing this for PR.

Apple can't win.

My view ? If Apple's PR "stunt" can improve the lives of people, it can't it be that bad, can it ?

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Can't win

If only certain other companies would do the same and publish the same kind of report.

Apple at least try - and show themselves to be trying to ensure there's no underage workers, no chemical hazards etc

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@e-mouse

Absolutely. In this case, it's not the motive that counts, but the result.

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I think perhaps they can win

Now I can't be certain, but I have a feeling that someone, somewhere is making a few pennies profit from Apple products. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Apple were to move their manufacturing plants to countries with good records on human rights and better working conditions they may make slightly less profit - still profit though. Perhaps if Apple were to lead the way in this - after all there's more than enough mark up in an Apple product to allow them to do it - others would follow. At least then you'd know that when you pay over the odds for a product at least there's some good coming out of it, and you'd feel slightly less cheated.

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Why Apple doesn't deserve to win:

Because other companies have been doing this for years, and don't have nearly as much naughtiness in their supplier base.

If Apple is finding this many issues with its suppliers, you have to wonder if they have been deliberately ignoring the whole 'corporate social responsibility' thing for the past few years in order to push profits. Didn't they also score comparatively badly in e.g. the Greenpeace eco-friendly electronics rating?

So - it's great they've finally jumped on the bandwagon, but kudos go to the companies that got on it first.

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@Edwin

Other companies use the exact same suppliers, for example Fox Conn also supply to Nokia, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, etc...

How many of these other companies have run reports like this and released them as transparently as this? Not to mention providing extensive support for suppliers to improve.

The last time I checked the Greenpeace eco rating (Oct 2010) Apple were in the middle with Microsoft and Nintendo down at the poor end. Sony and Nokia were up top doing well.

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FAIL

No shortcuts

Apple can win... they just don't want to.

Doing the right thing would mean too much of a hit to their profit margin.

Further fair pricing would make them MUCH more expensive than the competition (though they already are, it would be much more so).

Apple can "Win" over the people. They don't want to.

Apple "wins" by making money, this PR work, just helps them not get stopped from making more money.

It's bad because its not motivated at actually solving anything, just the appearance of it. And once a few people have been "helped" they can go back to hurting a lot more people when the eyes turn away to something more interesting.

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WTF?

Take Apple's word

or rather the criticism of chinese environmental groups that rank Apple worst?

Your choice.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5817abce-23d4-11e0-8bb1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1E1HxqFvl

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Flame

Well people.

Consumers buy shiny pieces of technological tat for bottom dollar in the full knowledge that this sort of thing is included in the real cost of it. No problem with your conscience? Fine.

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WTF?

bottom dollar!!

"bottom dollar" Clearly we are not talking about the same apple here!

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getting to the rooot cause ?

"even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides."

talk about mising the point :(

I've just realised my company has done nothing whatever to stop me throwing myself out of my office window...

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The Net

The whole thing seems reasonable but I just can't get over Foxconn attaching nets to their building to reduce impulsive suicides - previously they attempted to cover-up the maltreatment of their workforce and the fact that some workers had literally leapt from the windows to escape. To me that should have been an instant termination of contract.

I hope "Attached Nets to Catch Leapers" is not a tickbox on the Apple Audit form now!

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Anonymous Coward

Someone - resuce the princess!

Come on vulture hack! Get your act together !

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Thumb Up

Looks good to me

I wouldn't particularly call myself a fanboi, but I do like Apple products. However, when you read past stories about their suppliers' and agents' working conditions you can't help feel a little disappointed. So, when a story like this appears I'm gonna trust the author and try to regain some faith in humanity (even from Apple!).

As has been mentioned before - if it improves lives and reduces death and injury, I say keep it up.

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Grenade

Proof that Apple are evil!

and they'll probably say they knew nothing about it, of course not, enough said.

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