Recently, Apple has made huge announcements and changes regarding the way it handles environment and labor rights. Just yesterday, Apple released the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report for 2012. The report details efforts to oversee working conditions and environmental responsibility at its suppliers around the world. In my article, I also mentioned that Apple has been criticized for not taking supplier responsibility but that all ends today. Why? Because today Apple has also agreed to allow the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to access its suppliers’ facilities to monitor workplace conditions. This is mainly due to the worker suicides at Apple’s primary manufacturing partner Foxconn. It is funny how every time there’s an issue at Foxconn, Apple’s the cause for it when in reality, that’s not the case. Foxconn also makes products for HP, Dell, Sony, etc.
In fact, this makes Apple the first technology company to join the FLA. In the press release, Apple senior Vice President Jeff Williams says that Apple routinely performs audits of its suppliers’ facilities but that the company is pleased to engage with the Fair Labor Association as an independent monitoring group.
“We’re extremely proud to be the first technology company admitted to the FLA,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “Last year we performed more than 200 audits at our supplier’s facilities around the world. With the benefit of the FLA’s experience and expertise, we will continue to drive improvements for workers and provide even greater transparency into our supply chain.”
Apple joining the Fair Labor Association is a pretty big deal. I think it might force Apple’s peers to follow suit.