Supply Chain Management
Middle ECRA rating for supply chain management
The Apple Inc website (www.apple.com/uk/supplier-responsibility), contained a section entitled Supplier Responsibility, when viewed in July 2014. There was also a 2014 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report with the results of the previous year’s audits and corrective actions.
The company's Supplier Responsibility Standards was published in full for the first time in 2014, with 100 pages covering 20 key areas. It included clauses on discrimination, working week, child labour and forced labour. It did not include a committment to paying a living wage nor to allow collective bargaining, only as respected by local law. The working week clause stated "Our Supplier Code of Conduct limits working weeks to 60 hours except in unusual circumstances." This was not considered to be an adequate policy as it allowed for working weeks in excess of 60 hours. The Standards applied to Apple suppliers, their subcontractors, and their next-tier suppliers. Apple supplied details about their 18 final assembly facilities and you could download a list of their top 200 suppliers. As only three clauses were met adequately, it was considered to have a poor Supply Chain Policy.
The company's Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report included some evidence of stakeholder engagement; it joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in 2012, worked with Enough project, EICC and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative on tin and conflict minerals. Apple was judged to have rudimentary stakeholder engagement as it was not clear whether workers could provide feedback in their own language.
The company's Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report provided the results of its 2013 Apple-led audits. It disclosed the results of its audits, in terms of % of compliances. It stated that it audited all final assembly manufacturers annually, and selected component and nonproduction suppliers for audits based on risk factors, such as the prevailing conditions in the country where a supplier facility is located and the supplier’s past audit performance. Repeat audits were performed where non-compliances were found. It listed cases of non-compliance and the remediation plans for these facilities. Apple itself conducted the audits "supported by local third-party auditors who are experts in their fields". "We’ve now conducted audits in 16 countries, and in 2013, our 451 audits covered nearly 1.5 million workers. We audit our final assembly manufacturers every year, and we audit other facilities based on certain risk factors, including location and geographic sensitivities, past audit performance and the nature of the facility’s work. We also perform audits in selected non-production facilities, including call centres and warehouses." Apple was judged to have a good auditing and reporting policy.
The Supplier Responsibility section of the company's website discussed one difficult issue in its supply chain - workers having been asked to pay extortionate fees by employment agencies were helped by the company who ordered the monies to be paid back. There was nothing on freedom of Association in China or living wage. Apple was judged to have a rudimentary policy on Difficult Issues.
Apple Inc Corporate Communications:Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report (February 2014)