Apple’s eighth annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report highlights the progress made on reducing child labor and enforcing working hour limits, and shows a significant increase in the environmental standards Apple’s suppliers are expected to meet.
The number of cases of underage workers fell from 106 last year to 11 this year. Compliance with Apple’s requirement of a maximum working week of 60 hours hit 95 percent, with 97 percent meeting the requirement of at least one day off a week. Apple reported that the average working week of a supply chain employee was less than 50 hours …
Apple has also increased the environmental standards it requires suppliers to uphold. Several issues previously considered less serious breaches – such as disposing of hazardous waste at non-approved facilities – have been upgraded to unacceptable violations. Apple increased by 50 percent the number of environmental audits it conducted.
The company confirmed that all of its tantalum suppliers – a key metal used in the manufacture of electronic equipment – have been independently verified to be using so-called conflict-free sources, in contrast to those believed to be funding wars in central Africa. Apple also added a new program designed to reduce water usage by its suppliers.