There's news from Apple today, relating to some of the issues discussed in our program last week “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory.”It gets even deeper, they workers in China have threatened MASS SUICIDE if working conditions don't change.
For the first time, Apple has released a list of companies that build its products around the world. In another first, the company also announced that it will allow an independent third party to check on working conditions at those factories, and to make its findings public.
We don’t know that our show inspired these moves from Apple, but both of the changes are things that Mike Daisey called for in Act Two of our episode.
Apple announced these changes today when it released its latest Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which the company has published every year since 2007. In the past, the reports have typically come out in February.
The organization that will oversee independent audits of Apple’s assemblers is a nonprofit called the Fair Labor Association, which already checks on suppliers for other American companies, including Nike, New Balance, and Adidas. Apple is the first technology company to work with the FLA. Apple says it will "open its supply chain" to the FLA, who will do unannounced factory visits. It will do these without coordinating with Apple, and will then post the results on its website.
“It’s a level of transparency and independent oversight that is unmatched in our industry,” Apple wrote in its progress report.
That said, this isn’t actually what Mike was asking for at the end of our show. While Apple is listing the names of its suppliers, it still does not identify which facilities it found to have work standard violations.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Looks like good reporting can make a difference
Last week This American Life ran a show about Apple's dirty little secret: Slave Labor. This week Apple changed it's tune, but its not enough. More...