This week Apple’s own Tim Cook is speaking at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference and has addressed the Foxconn and additional working conditions reports with an assurance that monthly reports will be given from here on out. As he spoke on the measures they will be taking in the near future, he also reminded the audience that the Fair Labor Association audit is still taking place. Amongst assurances for the future are working hours being managed on a “very micro basis” and the complete destruction of underage working as their top priority.
Tim Cook spoke of how he has “spent a lot of time in factories personally, and not just as an executive,” noting that Apple does and always has taken its working conditions “very, very seriously.” Be it in Europe, Asia, or the United States, “we care about every worker” said Cook, continuing on that “in terms of problems we’re working to fix, you can read the details on our website, but I can tell you that no one in our industry is doing more to improving working conditions than Apple.” Cook is speaking of the Apple Supplier Responsibility website they’ve set up very recently in response to talks that they’d not been paying enough attention to their suppliers’ means of supplying.
Cook then launched into a few examples of how Apple is attacking the suggested problems they’ve been having at their supplier locations:
“We think the use of underage labor is abhorrent. It’s extremely rare in our supply chain, but our top priority is to eliminate it totally. We’ve done that with our final assembly and are working on down the supply chain. If we find a supplier that intentionally hires underage labor it’s a firing offense. We don’t let anyone cut corners on safety. There’s a production process that can be made safer, we seek out the foremost authorities, foremost experts, and cut out a new standard, and take that and apply it to the supply chain. We focus on the details. If there’s a fire extinguisher missing from the cafeteria, then that facility doesn’t pass inspection until that fire extinguisher is in place.
Continuing to focusing on the problems endemic to our industry like excessive overtime. Our code of conduct has a cap of 60 hours per work week, but we’ve consistently found violations to this code over the course of our time. So the beginning of this year, we announced that we’re determined to drive widespread change and we’ve begun to manage working hours at a very micro basis. An example, in January, we collected weekly data on over a half million workers in our supply chain, and we had 84 percent compliant. This is significantly improved from the past, but we can do better. And we’re taking the unprecedented step of reporting this monthly on our website so that it’s transparent to everyone what we’re doing. As you probably know, the Fair Labor Association began a major audit at our request. We started working with the FLA … and just in January, we were the first tech company ever admitted to their association. The audit they’re conducting is probably the most detailed factory audit in the history of mass… in scale, in scope, and in transparency, and I am looking forward to seeing the results.” – Cook
Apple is wasting no time making sure the world knows that they’re not a company that accepts the failure to be fair and give fair working conditions to their workers, be it here in the United States or abroad. Tim Cook himself making these announcements speaks to the weight that the entire situation has for both Apple and the tech world at large.
“We know that people have a very high expectation of Apple. We have an even higher expectation of ourselves. Our customers expect us to lead and we will continue to do so. We have the smartest and most innovative people on earth, and we put the same kind of effort and energy into supply responsibility as we do with our new product. That is what Apple is all about.” – Cook
[via The Verge]