Apple discloses its suppliers


The Apple logo is illuminated at the entrance to an Apple Store May 23, 2011 in New York City. The first Apple Store opened 10 years ago, and looking ahead, Apple has added several new experiences for customers in their retail locations. (Daniel Barry/Getty Images)
January 13, 2012

For the first time in the company’s history, Apple has publicly disclosed its list of suppliers. The firm lists 156 companies, many of which are not in the United States.

Apple has been criticized in the past for the working conditions in its supplier factories — conditions highlighted by worker suicides at one Foxconn factory and an explosion at another, as well as a recent explosion at another supplier factory, Pegatron.

The list comes in conjunction with Apple’s annual supplier responsibility report, which outlines the labor conditions and environmental impact of the company’s efficient and widespread supplier chain.

The detailed report outlines violations that Apple has found in its supplier factories, including incidents of child labor, reports of employees exceeding their weekly working limits and unhealthy working conditions, such as factories with high levels of combustible dust — the suspected cause of the factory explosions.

Apple conducts yearly audits of its suppliers and has disclosed the results of its findings in the past, but has never offered such detailed information, though the report still does not disclose which facilities were guilty of which violations.

The company terminates working relationships with suppliers who repeatedly violate Apple’s standards for worker safety. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech firm said that it had terminated business with one supplier because it repeatedly violated its involuntary labor standards, and stopped working with another for repeatedly falsifying audit materials.

In response to the 2011 explosions at the Foxconn and Pegatron factories, Apple said it was, “deeply saddened” by the events and has established new requirements for ventilation in its supply chain, including requiring comprehensive analysis of the systems, access to fire extinguishers and “explosive proof” vacuums in its factories. It has also banned the use of compressed air to clean components (thus lowering the risk of dust clouds forming) and will require regular tests of the airflow in factories.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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