updated 04:53 pm EDT, Fri July 26, 2013
Brown, Stanford, Cornell, Berkeley among professors' backgrounds
Apple has set up an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program, according to a press release from Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. Chairing the volunteer group is the Institute's director, Prof. Richard Locke. The board is in fact said to have been working for six months so far, and have seven other members. These include Chair Mark Cullen (Stanford University), Eli Friedman (Cornell University), Mary Gallagher (University of Michigan), Margaret Levi, (University of Washington), Dara O'Rourke (University of California Berkeley), Charles Sabel (Columbia University), and Annelee Saxenian (UC Berkeley).
The board's stated functions include making recommendations to Apple about current policies, conducting research on labor standards in the Apple supply chain, and sharing existing research which might improve the company's practices. The ultimate goal is making sure workers are "paid living wages, work within the legal work hour regimes, [and] work in environments that are safe and where they can express their rights as citizens," according to the Watson Institute.
Apple has been striving to improve its public image since abuses in its supply chain grabbed national attention through the New York Times. Although conditions at supplier factories have improved since then, there are still complaints about problems like excessive overtime, underage labor, and low pay.