updated 10:10 pm EDT, Tue June 13, 2006
iPod labor abuse claims
Apple today responded to claims of labor abuse in its iPod factories, saying that it was investigating allegations working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China. The company said it would not tolerate "any violations of its supplier code of conduct which are posted online. Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible," the company said in a statement obtained by Macworld UK, referencing its online supplier code of conduct.
Apple's code says that it "is committed to ensuring that working conditions in Apple's supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible." The company says that Apple's suppliers are obligated, in all of their activities, to operate in full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which they operate, but requires more from its suppliers.
"This Supplier Code of Conduct goes further, drawing upon internationally recognized standards, in order to advance social and environmental responsibility. Apple requires that its first tier suppliers implement this Code using the management systems described below," the company's statement reads.
Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct is modeled on and contains language from the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and uses standards such as International Labour Organization Standards (ILO), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Social Accountability International (SAI), and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). In part, the Apple says its suppliers must uphold the human rights of workers, to treat them with dignity and respect as understood by the international community. The code has sections on discrimination, harsh treatment and harassment, involuntary labor, child labor, working hours, renumeration, and freedom of association.