Each year, Apple releases a report called the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report detailing its audits of the labor practices of its suppliers around the world. Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers.
The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to supply chain.
Out of 757 suppliers included in the audit across 30 countries, 197 were being audited for the first time. Apple found twice as many “core violations” in 2017 as it did in the previous year. Core violations are those that Apple “considers the most serious breaches of compliance” and for which it claims to have “zero tolerance.”
Apple released its annual Supplier Responsibility Report on Wednesday, revealing a small uptick in number of labor, human rights and environmental violations, while at the same time touting progress in those same areas and announcing a new women’s health initiative. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
(Reuters) — Apple said on Wednesday that it had found violations of its labor and environmental policies for suppliers, such as falsifying work hours data, as it expanded the scope of its annual audit of conditions of workers making its iPhones and other products.
Apple runs one of the largest manufacturing chains in the world, but most of the work is done at factories owned by contractors.
Apple audited 756 suppliers in 30 countries, 197 of which it was auditing for the first time.
Apple said in its annual supplier responsibility report that the proportion of “low performers,” or suppliers scoring less than 59 points on its 100-point scale, fell to 1 percent in 2017 from 3 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2014. “High performers” with scores of more than 90 rose to a record high of 59 percent from 47 percent the year before.
Apple found 44 so-called “core violations” of its labor rules in 2017, double the previous year. Those included three instances of employees forced to pay excessive fees for a job, a practice Apple banned in 2015.
In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers recruited from the Philippines were charged a total of $ 1 million to work for a supplier. Apple said it forced the supplier to repay the money.
Compliance with Apple’s 60-hour work week fell to 94 percent of suppliers from 98 percent the year before. Moreover, Apple said it uncovered 38 cases of falsification of working hours data in 2017, up from 9 cases the year before.
Apple said the increase was driven by the fact that it brought on a number of new suppliers in 2017 and started tracking the working hours data of 1.3 million supplier employees, 30 percent more than in previous years.
In the report, Apple also said it was launching a new women’s’ health initiative at its supplier plants, with a goal of reaching 1 million women by 2020. And it said that it had launched a program in China to train workers to become factory line leaders, who often make 20 percent to 30 percent more than line workers.
On Wednesday, Apple also issued its so-called conflict minerals report, which is required by United States securities regulators. The report lists suppliers of sensitive metals such as tin and gold.
Apple company said that 16 smelters and refiners left its supply chain in 2017, 10 of which were dropped because they would not participate in a third-party audit of their practices. Six left of their own accord.
Apple also outlined new rules on student labor after a discovery last year that some Chinese students were working more than 11 hours a day assembling its iPhone X.
Apple today has released its 12th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, detailing the work the company is doing in improving conditions at supplier facilities. Apple touts that 15 million supplier employees have now been trained on their rights, including 3 million just last year.
The report, however, also offers colors at some of the issues Apple still faces in its supply chain…
Over the past few years, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan has cast a spotlight on the consequences aging infrastructure can have on water quality. However, a new report indicates that similar problems could be more widespread than we realized.
The study looked into health-related violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act that occurred between 1982 and 2015, which pertained to 17,900 community water systems. Using this data, authors Maura Allaire, Haowei Wu, and Upmanu Lall analyzed spatial and temporal trends in problems with the water supply.
The researchers found that during each year within the timeline they examined, between 9 and 45 million people had been affected by violations — accounting for between 4 and 28 percent of the U.S. population.
What happened in Flint is certainly significant in its own right, but the study points toward an even more alarming reality: that it’s part of a much broader trend.
Clear and Pure
The paper does note that generally speaking, people in the U.S. do have good access to clean drinking water. Around 7 or 8 percent of community water systems report at least one violation in a given year, which is said to be relatively low. Still, there’s room for improvement.
The water crisis in Flint is thought to have contributed to public health concerns ranging from an uptick in cases of Legionnaires’ disease to a decrease in birth rates. Though the situation in Flint is perhaps a more extreme case of potential violations, particularly those associated with the use of lead pipes.
Other water quality infractions which may be considered less severe can still cause trouble, though. For example, in the U.S. around 16.4 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are attributed to community water systems every year.
At present, state enforcement agencies do not have a systematic method of determining which water systems are in need of additional monitoring and inspection. While samples are taken from systems with recent violations on a more regular basis, Allaire, Wu, and Lall’s paper suggested maintaining high standards could be made easier if authorities identified “hotspots,” and the circumstances that seem to lead to violations.
To that end, the paper highlighted hotspots in parts of Texas and Oklahoma — two areas where water systems with repeat violations are more common. Though, in general, these violations seem to be more common in rural parts of the country as opposed to urban areas. In any case, low-income communities are often hit hardest. Conversely, privately-owned utilities and systems that purchase their water from other utilities experience fewer violations.
By paying more attention to spatial and temporal trends in drinking water violations, we might be able to allocate resources to the systems in need of scrutiny. However, the modernization efforts necessary to address these problems present a host of challenges: aging infrastructure, impaired or contaminated water at the source, and a lack of community finances are all flagged as contributing factors to this ongoing problem.
Apple relied on an iOS app created by a Chinese activist to identify and resolve at least 196 cases in which suppliers violated the nation’s environmental rules, actions that in some cases led to their removal from the company’s supply chain. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
The Taiwan courts have handed down a $ 773 million fine, finding Qualcomm guilty of anti-trust and monopolistic tactics in how it sells its chips to manufacturers — the same thing that Apple is accusing it of doing. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Last month Google was hit with a massive $ 2.7/2.4 billion fine by the European Commission, but that might not be the end of the company’s legal troubles. According to Reuters, the company might face even bigger charges over unfair pushing of its OS and services to phone makers. According to the report, competitors and manufacturers filed a complaint that Google is abusing its market dominance. The company is accused of limiting access to the Google Play Store if the phone company does not bundle the device with Google search and Chrome apps as well. Google is also blocking…
Google’s ongoing regulatory headaches in the EU have today resulted in a whopping $ 2.7 billion fine, the most significant regulatory penalty in the EU since the 2004 Microsoft decision. This fine stems from Google’s handling of shopping searches and the way its own comparison tools are allegedly given preferential treatment. It’s now up to Google to change its search practices, and that could affect the way it operates in other regions as well.