supplier responsibility Stories December 9, 2020

Three former members of the Apple Supplier Responsibility team say Apple was complicit in labor law violations in China. They are supported by a former Apple senior manager familiar with the company’s Chinese operations.

They say Apple was aware of the violations by its suppliers, but took no action because it feared that to do so might delay product launches …

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supplier responsibility Stories November 23, 2020

Unnamed congressional staffers have accused Apple of trying to water down an anti forced labor bill that would place obligations on US companies to ensure their supply chain was not involved in such abuse. The bill aims to end the use of forced Uighur labor in the Xinjiang region of China.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed 406 to 3 in the House in September and has now reached the Senate. We learned last month that Apple enlisted a lobbying firm to engage with Congress, but no explanation was offered at the time

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supplier responsibility Stories October 23, 2020

Report: Apple enlisted lobbyist for Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

This past spring, Apple was implicated along with other US brands like Nike, Dell, and more for having its supply chain allegedly involved with forced labor of the Muslim Uyghurs in Chinese factories. Now a new report from The Information says that Apple has paid to lobby Congress around legislation having to do US companies that could have connections with slave labor in China.

supplier responsibility Stories August 10, 2020

A report today suggests that Apple Store staff t-shirts may have been made by a Chinese company which is believed to have used forced labor in its production.

The claims against the garment company have been taken seriously enough for US sanctions to be imposed …

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supplier responsibility Stories February 5, 2019

Apple suppliers continue to report weak revenues as slumping iPhone sales keep on hurting

Two Apple suppliers this morning, Lumentum and AMS, are reporting weak revenues ailed by weakening global smartphone sales, particularly hurt by the slowdown within China. The latter of the two, AMS, struggled on an earnings call predicated with a guidance revision, seeing a 58% decline in quarterly profits YoY alongside a dividend suspension.

supplier responsibility Stories February 4, 2019

Investigation launched as to whether 200 Apple supplier employees were forced to ‘voluntarily resign’

Taiwan municipality Taoyuan is launching an investigative probe next week as to whether 200 workers employed at Career Technology, a key Apple parts supplier, were forced to sign “voluntary resignation” papers. The news comes via China Post, who reports that employees were given only three options: resign, retire, or get laid off.

supplier responsibility Stories January 16, 2018

Catcher – a Chinese company which makes casings for both iPhones and Macs – has been accused of violating a whole raft of Apple’s supplier standards. Catcher was one of the iPhone suppliers reporting high demand into this year, and is rumored to be developing a lightweight frame for a future Apple wearable.

A report by China Labor Watch says that the company violates 14 of Apple’s supplier-responsibility standards, including serious safety-related ones …

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supplier responsibility Stories May 13, 2016

Almost entire Sharp board will be replaced as Foxconn vows to turn the company around

Following the on-off-on-again acquisition of display-maker Sharp by Foxconn, the company has announced that 12 of the 13 board members – including CEO Kozo Takahashi – will step down once the takeover process is complete. The WSJ reports that the announcement follows deepening losses at the company.

supplier responsibility Stories May 12, 2016

iPhone decline hits Apple suppliers, say they see no upside in immediate sight

Apple’s decline in iPhone sales is unsurprisingly having a knock-on effect on its key suppliers, with the WSJ reporting that Foxconn, Pegatron, Sharp, Japan Display and Sony have all reported falling profits or losses as a result.

supplier responsibility Stories March 30, 2016

Apple issues 2016 supplier responsibility report w/ supply chain + environmental data & more

Apple has released its 2016 supplier responsibility progress report including a new letter from recently named COO Jeff Williams detailing Apple’s commitment to the people who create its products.

supplier responsibility Stories February 16, 2016

FILE-In this Wednesday, May 26, 2010, file photo, staff members work on the production line at the Foxconn complex in Shenzhen, China. Foxconn, the company that makes Apple’s iPhones suspended production at a factory in China on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, after a brawl by as many as 2,000 employees at a dormitory injured 40 people. The fight, the cause of which was under investigation, erupted Sunday night at a privately managed dormitory near a Foxconn Technology Group factory in the northern city of Taiyuan, the company and Chinese police said.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

9to5Mac most recently reported Apple is planning to launch its new addition to the iPhone lineup on March 18th, a 4-inch ‘iPhone 5se’. Foxconn is leading production of the phone, as it does with most iPhone units. Digitimes is reporting that Apple is adding a new supplier to the mix to aid supply: Wistron.

Naturally, Wistron declined comment as 4-inch iPhone production is still a supposed secret. According to Digitimes, Apple is aiming to lower supply channel yield risks by contracting with multiple suppliers for iPhone models. This strategy will continue with iPhone 7 ….

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supplier responsibility Stories January 7, 2016

reuters

In a radio interview on the syndicated show Conversations on Health Care, Apple COO Jeff Williams said that the reason Apple has come under attack for the use of child labor in its supply chain is that the company actively goes out looking for it. Other companies, he said, simply keep their heads down.

No company wants to talk about child labor. They don’t want to be associated with that. We shine a light on it. We go out and search for cases where an underage worker is found in a factory somewhere and then we take drastic actions with the supplier and the labor groups to try and make a change.

Then we report it publicly every year. We take a lot of heat for that. But we think the only way to make change is to go hit it head-on and talk about it.

Apple has come under fire over the years when underage workers were found in the company’s supply chain, and Williams has spoken before about Apple’s unusual stance on these issues …

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supplier responsibility Stories October 22, 2015

Majority of iPhone/iPad workers at Pegatron’s Shanghai factory exceed 60-hour work limit, claims China Labor Watch

China Labor Watch says that an undercover investigation at a Pegatron factory manufacturing iPhones and iPads found that 58% of workers there were working in excess of 60 hours a week – the limit laid down by Apple for its suppliers. It also said that overtime, which is supposed to be voluntary, is effectively mandatory, reports CNET.

The report claimed that the standard shift was nine hours, but that – between September and December last year – staff worked an additional minimum of 20 hours of overtime each week, usually split up between an extra two hours each week day and one 10-hour shift on Saturdays. […] This overtime was essentially a requirement, according to the investigator, who claimed to be told by a trainer that working eight-hour shifts five days a week “does not conform to our hiring requirements.”

The report says that many workers in any case said that significant overtime was necessary to meet their living expenses, with wages at the local minimum wage of around $1.85 per hour.

The report also alleges that Pegatron falsifies documents shown to Apple to give the appearance of complying with supplier audit requirements while failing to do so in reality.

Despite providing only about eight hours of pre-job safety training—where Chinese law requires 24 hours—Pegatron forces each new worker to sign a form that “certifies” that she has undergone 20 hours of safety training. A worker also must sign a trainer’s name on the form. The factory has workers quickly copy answers to the safety information quiz. These falsified forms are the types of documentation that are provided to Apple in their audits.

The report notes some improvements since 2013, with partial improvements in sick leave and the ending of claimed discriminatory hiring practices. CNET says that neither Apple nor Pegatron responded to requests for comments on the report.

It’s not the first time that China Labor Watch has criticized working conditions in factories run by Apple’s suppliers. A report last year on another Apple supplier detailed claims of 22 violations ranging from hiring practices to safety concerns.

A BBC documentary based on an undercover investigation at another Pegatron factory prompted Tim Cook to say he was “deeply offended” by the claims and the show’s failure to include facts and perspectives provided by Apple.

Apple publishes an annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report in which it details the issues it faces in its supply chain and the steps taken to address these.

Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

supplier responsibility Stories August 31, 2015

Former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced to cut 40% of workforce as restructuring continues

Nearly a year ago, Apple’s sapphire supplier GT Advanced Tech announced that it was filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, with the company parting ways with Apple as part of the restructuring. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that GT Advanced Tech will be reducing its workforce by another 40 percent in an effort to further cut costs.

supplier responsibility Stories July 27, 2015

LandRover_360_User_Flow

After a pilot of its new “Sponsored Listening” advertisements last year, streaming music service Pandora Radio announced today that it’s rolling out the feature to all advertisers and listeners in its mobile apps. The feature rewards users with an hour of ad-free, uninterrupted listening as long as they first interact with an ad for at least 15 seconds. expand full story

supplier responsibility Stories April 30, 2015

Apple Watch S1

We’ve already seen the Apple Watch get torn apart by iFixit, giving us an inside look at the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, and (mostly) battery, and now ABI Research has gone a level further and opened up the custom designed S1 chip that is the brains of the Apple Watch… expand full story

supplier responsibility Stories March 30, 2015

iPhone-6C-Rear-Housing-1

Image via Future Supplier

Some new photos posted by Future Supplier claim to show the leaked rear casing to the rumored “iPhone 6C.” Recent reports have said that the device will sport a 4-inch screen like that of the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, allowing it to appeal to those who prefer smaller displays over the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

While the veracity of these shots has not been confirmed, there are some interesting details to note that could give us some more clues about the design of the rumored device.

Keep reading for photos and analysis…

supplier responsibility Stories March 6, 2015

Apple reportedly invests in new $1.4 billion Japan Display LCD plant

Reuters reports that Japan Display Inc, an Apple parts supplier, just announced plans to build a new $1.4 billion LCD plant that will reportedly help it become a primary supplier of smartphone displays to Apple.

The report also claims that Apple has invested in the plant, but didn’t disclose any financial details related to the investment:

The company did not name Apple, in line with its policy of not identifying clients. A person familiar with the matter said Apple would also invest an unspecified amount in the plant, which would further the Japanese screen maker’s aim of becoming the primary supplier of high-tech screens for iPhones.

The news follows reports last month that Apple was considering such an investment in the new factory somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.7 billion.

The new plant will reportedly start production in 2016 and increase Japan Display’s LCD capacity by 20 percent.

supplier responsibility Stories February 12, 2015

smelters

Apple has revealed in its annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report that it has informed four smelters–who provide metals used in the production of the company’s devices–that they will be dropped from the supply chain after refusing to submit to “conflict mineral” audits …  expand full story

supplier responsibility Stories December 19, 2014

A screengrab from the documentary showing workers sleeping on the production-line

A screengrab from the documentary showing workers sleeping on the production-line

The full BBC documentary on working conditions in iPhone factories has been unofficially uploaded to YouTube. It probably won’t be too long before it gets pulled, so if you want to see it, watch it while you can – we’ve embedded the full video below …  expand full story

apple-china

In a letter to UK staff, Tim Cook is said to have been “deeply offended” by allegations made in a BBC undercover documentary that Apple had broken promises over the working conditions in Pegatron’s iPhone factories in China, reports the Telegraph.

In an email to around 5,000 staff across the UK, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said both himself and the chief executive were “deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way”.

“Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions,” he continued. “Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Williams said that Apple had provided both “facts and perspective” on the allegations, but the BBC had chosen not to include these in the program …  expand full story

supplier responsibility Stories October 23, 2014

As expected, Apple’s clean break from GT Advanced is now official

Apple’s clean-break settlement with GT Advanced is now official, two days after lawyers for the bankrupt sapphire manufacturer reported that agreement had been reached. In a press release, the company said that the company was being given up to four years interest-free to repay the $439M owed to Apple.

GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple. GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF® sales. The agreement provides for a mutual release of any and all claims by both parties. As a result of the agreed upon terms, GT retains control of its intellectual property and will be able to sell its sapphire growth and fabrication technology, including ASF and Hyperion™, without restrictions.

The company is exiting the sapphire production business and will repay Apple from the proceeds of selling its furnaces, the four-year timeframe likely agreed in order to allow GT Advanced to achieve the best price.

GTAT said that it will continue “technical exchange” with Apple to help develop future production processes, but will limit its future involvement in sapphire to making production equipment for other companies.

supplier responsibility Stories July 24, 2014

components

Component orders by Apple for the iPhone 6 are a significant factor in the current thriving state of a number of Asian economies, say analysts and government officials cited by the WSJ.

Analysts expect companies from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea that supplied earlier versions of the iPhone to produce key components like displays, camera lenses and microprocessors. Already, some of those companies are announcing increased earnings or forecasts, and economists and analysts are talking about an Apple effect on whole sectors and economies …

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supplier responsibility Stories July 11, 2014

Mac Pro

Apple’s operations chief said today that the company paid out over $3 billion to small businesses that supplied Apple with parts for its products in 2013. That money was split up between around 7,000 different suppliers as part of the SupplierPay program started by the White House.

SupplierPay is an extension of a federal program called QuickPay that required the government to issue payments to small business partners within 15 days of billing in an attempt to promote economic growth. With SupplierPay, the program is extended (optionally) to private businesses like Apple.

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