Tech companies have received a lot of criticism for the working conditions at suppliers they partner with to make your favorite gadgets. If it's not unsafe facilities, it's underage workers, or worse. As such, Apple in 2012 voluntarily signed up for the Fair Labor Association's (FLA) voluntary audits in an effort to be more transparent about what life is like in these factories. A new report on Friday was released by the FLA, which details an audit of two facilities operated by Quanta.
Despite Apple's best efforts and promise to hold suppliers up to the toughest standards, it seems work still needs to be done in order to meet the requirements necessary for a safe and fair environment. According to the FLA's reports, via TechCrunch, there was a fair amount of non-compliance at Quanta's facilities in Changshu and Shanghai. Issues range from employment brokers charging recruitments fees, to employees not getting mandatory rest days.
Apple released its own statement in response to the FLA's findings, reiterating its commitment to providing excellent working conditions for those in its supply chain. The iPhone maker said it conducted 451 audits on its own last year to identify problems and suggest fixes; the company has been pretty transparent about providing its own reports for the public to see, which TechCrunch notes is current as of June of this year. Below is part of Apple's statement.
The Quanta facilities inspected by the FLA last year were included in our 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, which we released in February. Our own experts have audited these sites 16 times, most recently last month.
In the year since the FLA's visit, we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple. Apple conducted four follow-up inspections on top of the annual audits of both facilities to ensure the needed corrections are in place.
As part of the FLA's findings, the group made improvement recommendations to Apple, though it sounds like Apple has already taken upon itself to ensure those issues have been taken care of. The severity of the issues shows a marked improvement over the way things were just a few years ago, but it sounds like there's still plenty of work that needs to be done in order to ensure supply partners provide the best possible working environment.
At a time when we're not that far away from devices like the iPhone 6, iWatch, and the possibility of two new iPad updates, Apple will no doubt have to keep a watchful eye over the activity going on at its suppliers around the world.