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In many respects, Apple’s 2018 audit report brought good news about its supply chain. According to the firm’s 13th yearly Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, it found 27 “core violations” of labour rules – significantly fewer than the 44 that it uncovered the previous year.
The report lists 24 instances of fraudulent working hours and two of debt-bonded labour. What might be the best news is that Apple found no serious health and safety breaches. The majority of issues were related to lack of the correct permits and inadequate health screening.
Furthermore, the firm announced that it notched up another environmental achievement. In 2018, it said that the iPhone was made with a “no waste” certification. This year, Apple also added the iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod and AirPod to the list.
The firm has also improved its recycling programmes, with the process now being completed faster with the help of new iPhone disassembly robots.
All of this spelled positive news for Apple during its massive supplier assessment. The firm also audited 279 refineries and mineral smelters, and claims that it audited well over 90% of all the firms that it bought materials and parts from last year.
According to Apple’s COO Jeff Williams, they are forever improving standards for themselves and their suppliers. He added: “Our goal has always been not just to drive progress in our supply chain, but to drive meaningful changes across the industry.”
For many years, Apple’s supplier responsibility efforts centred on trying to resolve problems in its supply chain. Ten years ago, at a time when workers’ safety, mental health and mistreatment made headlines across the globe, this was of vital importance.
Now, Apple says that its publicly available supplier audits provide an example for other firms to improve environmental standards and to ensure that workers are being treated humanely.