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 August 2015. There was also a 2015 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report with the results of the previous year’s audits and corrective actions.
Supply Chain Policy (reasonable)
The Apple 'Suplier Responsibility Standards' included adequate clauses prohibiting discrimination, forced labour, child labour and freedom of association. The caluse on working hours (max 60 per week)was insuffcicient because it included the caveat "except in exceptional circumstances" which was open to being exploited by employers. There was no committement to pay a living wage.
It stated that the Standards applied to suppliers and sub-suppliers.
Stakeholder Engagement (rudimentary)
The company mentioned stakeholders, both in terms of various industry group initiatives and taking into account information from NGOs when selecting companies for audit. However, Ethical Consumer could not find evidence that Apple sought the systematic input from NGOs on the ground into the verification of labour standards. Nor did it appear to be a member of any multistakeholder initiatives. The 'Suplier Responsibility Standards' stated that the "supplier shall implement effective and accessible complaint procedures for workers, including contracted workers, to report instances of harassment. Supplier shall make available multiple channels for reporting complaints of harassment, one of which must be an anonymous system for filing complaints."
Auditing & Reporting (rudimentary)
The Supplier Responsibility 2015 Progress Report stated how many audits had been made in the previous year, but an audit schedule was not given which set out what proportion of its supply chain was audited. The report gave details on significant findings as a result of audits, though these were not broken down into qualitative data.
There was evidence in the 2015 Progress report that Corrective Action Plans were used in cases of non-compliances.
Apple had published information about 18 final assembly facilities plus a list of its 'top 200' suppliers, including component providers and others representing 97% of worldwide procurement expenditures in 2014.
No mention was found of who paid the costs of audits.
Difficult Issues (rudimentary)
The company discussed its Supplier Employee Education and Development (SEED) program, in which it equipped factories with computers, educational software, and video
conferencing capabilities to "help workers gain the skills they need to grow within the
factory — or to forge entirely new paths. We are committed to offering these courses for as many workers as possible — fully funded by Apple and the supplier." In 2014, the SEED program expanded to five more supplier sites, now totaling 48 classrooms in 23 sites. SEED had over 379,000 participants in 2014 alone, and over 861,000 total since 2008. The company also mentioned that it was working on eliminating unethical hiring practices, where third parties were hiring a suppliers' workforce and charging extortionate fees, but no detail was given on how it was acheiving this.
Overall the company received a Middle rating for supply chain management.
Apple Inc Corporate Communications:Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report (February 2014)