Apple flags supplier violations amid expanded audits

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Apple affirms it has forced the supplier to repay the fees.

Apple's annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report has been in operation since 2007 and seeks to improve "working conditions at supplier facilities, protect the planet and ensure responsible sourcing".

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) increased its number of high-performing suppliers by 35% previous year, according to the company's 2018 Progress Report featuring an audit of 756 facilities.

The violations included 38 cases of work hour falsification, two cases of underage workers (who were returned home and to school and promised future jobs), and three bonded-labor situations. This time, Apple highlighted a new women's health education initiative. Our goal is to reach 1 million women by 2020.

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In 2015, Apple banned suppliers from charging its workers fees to work, known as debt-bonded labour, even those which fall within the legal limits of the supplier's country.

It also has a Zero Waste Program, and in the two years since it launched, all of Apple's Chinese and Indian final assembly locations have achieved Zero Waste certifications, and its newest facility will get certification this year.

Last year, ten mineral and chemical refiners were dropped from Apple's supply chain after refusing to allow an audit to take place.

"We believe that everyone making Apple products deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and we're proud that nearly 15 million people understand their workplace rights as a result of the work we've done over the years". Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers. The programme provides vital information and access to services that women need to maintain their health, including critical topics such as self-examination for early cancer detection, nutrition, personal care, and maternal health.

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"We believe that everyone making Apple products deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and we're proud that nearly 15 million people understand their workplace rights as a result of the work we've done over the years", Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a statement.

Apple claims the breaches are driven by the addition of several new suppliers, alongside better tracking methods.

The company conducted 756 audits spanning 30 countries and covering suppliers representing 95 percent of total spend. Were going further with health education programs and new opportunities for advancement at our suppliers, said Jeff Williams, Apples COO. High performers with scores of more than 90 points rose to a record high of 59pc from 2016's figure of 47pc. The Factory Line Leader Program bridges the gap between skills and employment by providing practical vocational skills and guaranteed internships with an Apple supplier, as well as long-term, full-time employment opportunities.

The issue of conflict minerals in Apple devices was dealt with in a separate report, a requirement of the United States securities regulators. An additional six businesses opted to cut ties with Apple of their own will before being asked to participate.

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