Apple’s annual audit find some violations from suppliers

March 1, 2010

chinaapplApple has identified 17 “core” violations in an audit of suppliers that scrutinized 102 of the facilities where iPods, iPhones and Mac computers are produced.

Apple said its annual supplier responsibility assessment uncovered eight violations involving “excessive recruitment fees,” three with underage workers, three relating to hazardous waste disposal by noncertified vendors, and three of “falsified records.”

For example, it said three facilities were found to have hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum employment age is 16.

In addition, the company found foreign workers in eight facilities had been overcharged for agency recruitment fees, and said it required the supplier in each case to reimburse any fees over the legal limit. Apple said workers have been reimbursed $2.2 million in recruitment fee overcharges over the past two years.

Although it doesn’t identify which suppliers were responsible for the major violations or where they occurred, in its report Apple said such actions land a facility on probation, usually for a year, and management isĀ  is required to “remedy the situation immediately and implement management systems that ensure sustained compliance.”

Apple, a famously secretive company, has come underĀ some criticism over the years for the labor practices of its suppliers, particularly in China.

Apple said its 2009 audit included all final assembly manufacturers, first-time audits of component and
non-production suppliers, and 15 repeat audits of plants where a core violation had been previously discovered.

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