Trouble in paradise - Apple finds more supplier problems

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Falsification of work hours increased by 9 cases in 2017, totalling 38 cases.

Abuses included labor violations, the falsification of working hours, harassment and underage staff. Apple conducted 756 audits in total and its report detailed some of the violations that were considered to be "serious breaches of compliance".

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) increased its number of high-performing suppliers by 35% past year, according to the company's 2018 Progress Report featuring an audit of 756 facilities.

In 2015, Apple banned suppliers from charging its workers fees to work, known as debt-bonded labour, even those which fall within the legal limits of the supplier's country.

Labor and human rights violations in Apple's global supply chain have doubled in the span of a year, a new report has revealed. In two years, 100% of its final assembly locations in China had attained zero waste certifications, the report said.

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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 also made improvements on the environmental front.

Apple supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru has achieved zero waste to landfill certification in a little over a year, much faster than its assembly units in China, says Apple's latest progress report on supplier responsibility.

Nevertheless, Apple's evaluation of how bad some of its business partners are treating employees and failing to abide by mandated standards flies in the face of CEO Tim Cook's claim that he wants the company to be socially responsible.

In addition to its findings, Apple on Wednesday announced plans for a women's health initiative that would educate women who work at its supplier facilities about personal health. "We're going further with health education programs and new opportunities for advancement at our suppliers", said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "High performers" also increased by 12 percent, up from 47 percent the year prior. In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers were recruited from the Philippines to work for a supplier through a private employment agency. Our goal is to reach 1 million women by 2020.

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Apple said in the report that the proportion of "low performers" or suppliers scoring less than 59 points on its 100-point scale, fell to one percent in 2017 from three percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2014.

"We believe that everyone making Apple products deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and we're proud that nearly 15 million people understand their workplace rights as a result of the work we've done over the years", said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

Apple additionally released a specialized disclosure report on an audit of the ethical sourcing of conflict minerals in its supply chain, such as gold and tungsten.

Apple said 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.

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