Apple Inc. is stepping up efforts to improve its image by showing that its campaign to support fair labor practices has some teeth.
On Thursday (Jan. 24), Apple reported terminating a relationship with one of its China-based suppliers after an audit concluded the supplier had more than 70 employees under the age of 16.
In its annual supplier responsibility report, Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) said it severed its relationship with Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co. Ltd. in January 2012 after its auditors discovered 74 cases of workers under the age of 16. Apple described this as "a core violation of our code of conduct." Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics supplies a standard circuit board component that is used by many companies, Apple said.
Bowing to public pressure after scrutiny over the working conditions at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. and other key suppliers, Apple one year ago became the first electronics firm to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a watchdog group that independently assesses and monitors working conditions in factories around the world. Hon Hai, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer with extensive operations in mainland China, operates under the trade name Foxconn.
Apple's 2013 supplier responsibility report also offered some good—and surprising—news. In 2012, Apple said it found no cases of underage labor at any of its final assembly suppliers, presumably including Foxconn. "While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier," Apple said. "Many suppliers tell us that we are the only company performing these audits, so when we do find and correct problems, the impact goes far beyond our own suppliers."
Hmm, China is a communist socialist country. It, like all former regimes of this nature professes equality for all its citizens and essentially, plays "mother and father" to all. It is a totalitarian regime. It is the Chinese Governments responsibility for the welfare of its people. It is the Chinese Government that sanctions and directly benefits from the use of child labour. I say good on Apple and others for taking a stand on their own moral grounds, this is not a side job mowing the lawns, this IS child labour, supported and sanctioned by the Chinese government.
This is the problem of the category: "damnend if you do, but damned if you don't". I would say that we should take into consideration what are the norms of the other country so we do not impose our standards on what it is a sovereign entity, after all some of US standards seem bizarre in other countries (you can handle weapons before you can legally drink?!). Then of course we are free to deem some of the foreign practices as wholy unacceptable (fit to be married when 6?!) ... We could stick to the international standards, but it would help if we stopped torpedoing them frequently (yep, we do it!)
I think both ... if Hitler and Stalin were not so much psychopathic US might end up in a very bad place, or at least: not so good ... The number of detailed "whys" is just too big for the format here...
Half the room says "America the richest country in the world lets human rights violations take place and does nothing" the other half of the room ask why America is always interfering with the way other governments run their countries. Apple has the same problem. Apple is being called on to do what the U.S. government should be doing.
I am glad that Apple is doing something, I am not sure if it really helps the kids or hurts them. The key is that someone is doing something and maybe if everyone got on board the problem would be greatly reduced. I do not know the laws / school policies in China but I can't imagine that it is a good thing for the kids growing up without an education.
Yes, and the point is, US consumers were finding it distasteful that Apple was exploiting child labor, as much as these same people would object to seeing child labor exploited at home.
So Apple is doing what it has to do, to fix its image back home. Which they must do to avoid putting off a whole lot of potential customers.
The other way to look at it might be, is it truly a matter of "lucky rich country"? Or is "rich" the result of hard-learned policies?
I was wondering the same thing. Like GeLy said below, I too started working long before age 16. It was part-time of course, and school was top priority. In many states, American youth are not legally required to attend school past age 16.
Positive news on the child labor front should be celebrated. I have no doubt that there are adults in China seeking employment and the children have a better chance to get an education. It will take time but the news of this decision by Apple will surely be heard far beyond the walls of the company that was directly impacted.