Apple’s Chief Executive Office Tim Cook is speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference where he was just asked about working conditions within the company’s supply chain. While Apple’s presentations at past Goldman Sachs conferences, where Cook was often involved as Chief Operating Officer, were typically limited to numbers and trends, Cook was asked today about supply chain conditions in China:
“The first thing I would want everyone to know… Apple takes working conditions very, very seriously….we care about every worker… i spent a lot of time in factories personally… we are understand working conditions at a very granular level. I realize that… the supply chain is complex… but my commitment is very, very simple. We believe that every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages, and voice their concerns freely… We believe that education is the great equalizer”
Cook talked about how aggressively Apple has sought to fix the issues. In January, the company polled over half a million employees weekly and reported over 84 percent compliance. Following yesterday’s announcement that the Fair Labor Association has begun audits of the company’s supply chain starting with Foxconn City in Shenzhen, Cook noted Apple will begin an unprecedented move to report its findings monthly. As an example of how detail oriented the company’s review processes are, Cook noted if there were “no fire extinguisher in kitchen,” the supplier would not pass.
Cook also noted that Apple partnered with local schools to provide classes to more than 60,000 employees, many going on to earn associates degrees, with a campus population larger than Arizona State.