The Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, the Mac maker has announced.
The audits are being carried out at Apple’s request. FLA President Auret van Heerden is leading a team of labor rights experts who reportedly began the first inspections today at a Shenzhen plant.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers.”
“The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports,” added Cook.
The FLA plans to interview employees by the thousands, as part of its independent assessment.
Workers will be asked about working and living conditions, as well as health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with their high-ups.
Manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities will also be inspected.
Then, the FLA will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment, according to Apple.
The Mac maker’s press release specifically states that “Apple’s suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations.”
The company suggests it will have no control over the FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments. The results will end up on www.fairlabor.org in early March.
Quanta and Pegatron facilities will undergo similar inspections later this spring. The goal is to assess the facilities that account for more than 90 percent of production.
“Apple has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final assembly facilities,” the company stresses.
A Supplier Responsibility section on Apple’s web site offers details on Apple’s supplier responsibility program, including the results of more than 500 factory audits led by the company over the course of several years.