Apple has released its annual Supplier Responsibility Report in which it provides the results of its 2012 audits, including the work the company is carrying out on a general basis to correct issues and improve the suppliers’ performance each year.
Available as a PDF document (download here), Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Progress Report reveals on page 18 that said audits resulted in the discovery of numerous cases of underage labor.
“…the culprit behind the violation was a third-party labor agent that willfully and illegally recruited young workers,” it reveals.
According to the report, Apple audited Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ) early last year. The company produces circuit boards.
“Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16—a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ,” Apple notes.
The company took its investigation further and, without fail, discovered that it was actually an HR company which willfully provided the children to PZ after conspiring with their families to forge their papers.
“We also learned that one of the region’s largest labor agencies, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd. (Quanshun), which is registered in both the Shenzhen and Henan provinces, was responsible for knowingly providing the children to PZ,” Apple states.
“In fact, to obtain the workers, this agency conspired with families to forge age verification documents and make the workers seem older than they were,” the supplier responsibility report reveals.
Apple ultimately alerted the provincial governments and had the agency’s business license suspended, along with a hefty fine.
“The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return,” Apple confirms.
Dionne Harrison, business and capability director, Impactt Limited, says “In our experience, Apple is a leader in the field of responsible child labor remediation.”
“When it finds child labor, Apple acts swiftly to protect the best interests of the child and support children to return to their families and education,” says Harrison.