Apple Weighs In on Foxconn Suicides, Wintek Poisonings

Apple has posted its Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report which details how the company has dealt with suicides at Foxconn, reported N-Hexane poisonings at Wintek, and more.

“Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility in everything we do,” Apple states on its web site.

“The companies we do business with must provide safe working conditions, treat employees fairly, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”

“Apple’s program is based on our comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations for the companies we do business with,” it adds, “We evaluate compliance through a rigorous auditing program and work proactively with our suppliers to drive change.”

The Cupertino, California giant encourages visitors to read about its ongoing commitment to social responsibility by downloading the Apple Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report (PDF).

As noted above, the document broadly talks about the Foxconn suicides, and the N-Hexane poisonings at Wintek.

Foxconn (a division of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd) and Wintek are directly involved with assembling Apple iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Apple claims it has taken the necessary steps to address both these issues, being “disturbed and deeply saddened to learn that factory workers were taking their own lives at the Shenzhen facility of Foxconn,” and concluding that a series of incidents acting as a core violation for worker endangerment led to the N-Hexane poisonings.

The Mac maker notes that it continues to improve its supplier responsibility program to ensure that working conditions in its supply base are safe, and that workers are treated with respect.

Apple also pledges to make the manufacturing processes as environmentally responsible as possible.

According to the PDF document in question, Apple’s priorities for 2011 are to:

• Extend the reach and improve the quality of Apple-mandated social responsibility training so that more workers understand their rights and how to communicate with factory management.

• Equip additional suppliers with Apple SEED classrooms to help workers continue their education while remaining employed.

• Collaborate with industry groups and NGOs in China to address key issues— such as working hours, underage labor, and employee well-being—through root cause analysis, more aggressive audits, stronger requirements for correc- tive and preventive actions, and expanded supplier training and assistance.

• Drive conflict-free verification measures to smelters in our supply chain, and require our component suppliers to source tantalum and tin from conflict-free producers.

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