back to article Apple suppliers: Child labor, bribery, suicides

During 2010, Apple audited the facilities and management practices of 127 of its worldwide suppliers, and found instances of underage labor, unsafe working conditions, inadequate safety devices, lack of first-aid supplies, improper handling of hazardous chemicals, excessive recruitment fees, and more. Much more. And if Apple's …

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  1. LaeMing
    Happy

    Cleaning up for the sake of improved reputation is fine with me.

    Lets hope this encourages consumers to pressure other big companies to follow suit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It isn't enough

      If even a single company exploits its workers, it puts pressure on every other company to do the same. Customers look at the price, and often simply buy the cheapest. The reason for the lower cost may simply be that they exploited some of the worlds poorest people and cut corners on safety and environmental protection.

      Industry and business has to work across the board to restore some justice to the world, or we will face catastrophic consequences. It's great that Apple is doing something (for whatever motive) but that alone won't make a difference. I'd like governments around the world to put together a clearer picture of the actions and ownership of large companies, and expose those who are serial exploiters.

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Thumb Up

        Customers look at the price, and often simply buy the cheapest...

        errr Not if they buy apple they don't.

        charging top dollar for products and using 'too cheap' manufacturing aside.

        well done apple.

        <jk>still control freakery, but in a good way </jk>

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Ted Treen
        FAIL

        Jeez...

        Mr Sophistry indeed! Have you got a bee in your bonnet or what?

        Never mind, you can feel all righteous, cos you are smart enough to slate what's becoming the world's favourite tech company.

        I suppose if Apple discovered a cure for cancer, AIDS, Ebola virus and so on, irrigated Africa's deserts and put a stop to religious bigotry you would STILL slate them with spittle-laden invective.

        You say "Bear in mind that after the last time they audited there were still numerous suicides and findings of child labour too."

        At least they audit - and the companies concerned aren't working exclusively for Apple.

        Where's Microsoft's audit?

        Where's Dell's?

        Where's Acer's?

        Where's HP's?

        Need I go on? - or are you allergic to factual reality?

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. FanMan
    Jobs Halo

    Cynical

    Desire for good publicity hardly excludes a humanitarian impulse, - ever thought of that? - and I don't see why Apple shouldn't be given the benefit of the doubt.

    I would normally deduct a point for self-publicity ("But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth") but this can only do good. It also gives me pause. Maybe it's my religious duty to audit our Chinese suppliers' welfare standards.

    Yet again, as you have so often noted before, the Jobsian cult leads the way. Go Steve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      yes very impressive

      That the cult is finaly following in the footsteps of multinationals like ITW which has had strict guide lines for its suppliers for the last 15 years. The Cult. Leading the way from 15 years behind....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @Cynical

      > Desire for good publicity hardly excludes a humanitarian impulse.

      >"Apple has terminated business with the facility."

      Yeah, round of applause. Having already reaped the benefit of their cheap labour, has Apple taken responsibility for ensuring the welfare of its former child workers?

    3. John Molloy
      Go

      Where are the other companies?

      It's not like Apple is the only company that manufactures in Chine... Where are the reports from the other companies that do this? Easy for the haters to come down hard on Apple for actually reporting on this stuff... And easy for the press, especially the cynical, British, press to use the Apple name to garner hits but the truth is it has to be better for Apple to highlight this stuff instead of sweeping it under the carpet like the rest are doing.

  3. Neal 5

    cynical also,

    so what will Apple do about it apart from publicise their concerns. I'm betting my last hot dinner that this is about as good as it will get. Plenty of hot air to come, no action, situation normal, why fix it if it ain't broke. Anyone know a Yank who'll spend $1 more for their worthless gadget if it saves a life, who cares it's only a $1 , right?

    1. Billy Bongo
      Paris Hilton

      What have they been doing?

      Terminating contracts of the worst offenders, training over 300,000 workers on occupational health and safety, worker rights, and local labor laws, trained over 6,000 supervisor and managers on their worker responsibilities, working with suppliers like Foxconn to improve worker conditions... are a few things they're doing. Try reading the report.

      What are other corporations these suppliers work for doing? Are other corporations this transparent?

      1. Dick 3
        Megaphone

        Apple's Press Agent

        The original article could not have been written better by Apple's Press Agency. It was a masterpiece of sliced and diced statistics. Twisted every manner to reflect the benevolence of the corporation and their master Steve Jobs.

    2. NightFox

      Did you read the full article?

      Hot air = yes

      Action = already taken

      Situation = already improved

      Any increase in cost to consumer caused = already reflected

      Hot dinner = no more

      These working practices aren't going to be eradicated overnight, and the improvements made so far may only be small, but small improvements overall can be made up of life-changing improvements for individuals

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cynical also

      Did you read the article? Action has already been taken.

      You're not cynical, you're an idiot.

      "Anyone know a Yank who'll spend $1 more for their worthless gadget if it saves a life, who cares it's only a $1"

      I don't really understand this. Is it supposed to be sarcasm? Seems like a bargain if Apple has done all that and only passed $1 on to it's customers.

    4. Daniel 1

      You want some "irony", my friend?

      The source of all those leaked stories about n-hexane poisoning, and underage labour (that many "cynical" folks gloated over, during the year, just gone) was... probably these very audits. It would explain the refusal to comment on them, at the time - and, in any case, it appears no one else was actually bothering to look at all.

      "Cynical" is one of those words - you know? Like "ironic" (see title)? People like to mislabel their petulant outbursts of naive disappoint as "cynicism", because is sounds better than "impossible to satisfy".

    5. Daniel 1

      By the way...

      If you want to place a bet, place it with your NEXT hot dinner, not your last one.

      So... what's for dinner?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      reading is a basic skill

      If you had actually bothered to read & parse the article beyond the headline, you'd have learned that Apple:

      1. terminated business with a facility that employed under-age workers

      2. successfully put pressure on others to improve working conditions (chemicals, suicides)

      3. works with two wider industry bodies to improve sourcing

      4. has a regular third-party audit program for its suppliers (and is one of the few that have).

      saints? no.

      business making money? yes.

      PS. you owe me a hot dinner - feel free to give it to a homeless person

  4. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    From what we read in Apple's report .... Cupertino is to be commended

    Next we'll be asked to believe that Jobs is as a big a philanthropist as Bill Gates actually is.

    What a difference between the two: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust whilst Jobs is myopically stashing it away at the cost of cheap labour all over the world.

    Let's have real news, not papp churned out by paid hacks trying to improve Apples appearance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Erm, bzz. Wrong!

      "Jobs is myopically stashing it away at the cost of cheap labour all over the world."

      Except he's trying to ensure there's no child labour, bad working conditions etc - which is the reason for the report...

      1. Rob Dobs
        FAIL

        Appearance does not equal intent

        Apple got a lot of BAD press for actually being party to child labor, hosting literally suicidal working conditions and other SHITTY business practices. Read that again.... already caught for being party to doing these things. Is it good their improving sure.... in the way that its good a pedophile hasn't molesting any kid recently. The point is Apple will continue to abuse their employees, foreign partner workers and THEIR CUSTOMERS as much as they can get away with it.

        So sure yea! apple for putting out nets and maybe actually even looking into the deeper problem.

        But really I don't think its unfair or cynical to less than impressed by what appears to be a trumped up report on a totally forced adjustment from a bad behaving company.

        Any honest person would visit China themselves, there they would see that they current government and business class will not treat their workers with the minimum amount of respect that we feel humans are due in the US/EU. There is no way to do honest business in China when it is run by a dishonest government. We should start treating the companies that use slave labor in dictator run countries like the turncoats and traitors to our nations beliefs that they truly are.

        Companies like Apple and WalMart are at their core NOT good businesses willing to pay an honest wage for an honest days work. They are instead absolute opportunists and exploiters that will cut every corner and dodge every rule they can.

        The only good thing is companies like these don't really create anything, they only get compliance because doing things illegal/immoral is actually cheaper than doing it the right way. But that also means they are not self sustainable, the need workers to exploit and customers to swindle to keep going.

        IF YOU STOP PAYING THEM MONEY, THEY CAN DO THIS TO PEOPLE ANYMORE!!!

        Really simple, if we really care about human rights and all like we all say we do.....

        1. Billy Bongo

          @Rob Dobs

          You seem to have failed to realise these are THIRD PARTY suppliers to Apple AND many other tech companies including Sony, Nokia, etc. I suppose they're also no better than pedophiles in your book?

          Apple are not abusing their employees no more than Sony are. Apple aren't putting out nets for suicide jumpers, Foxconn are and in all the drama people like you have also failed to realise Foxconn's employee suicide rate is LOWER than the national average. So if you want a good job in China go work for Foxconn.

          You claim to be in support of workers in China yet you slam one major influencer who is actually trying to improve conditions! There's no pleasing people like you, Apple could be saving lives and you'd still rip them apart.

          1. Rob Dobs

            conformance is not innocence

            Third Party still means they are in business together, Apple is funding the endeavor that means they are clearly responsible for what the results are.

            I did not compare Apple to pedophiles, mere making the emphasis that you don't reward somebody just because they stop doing bad, or do less bad than before.

            "Others are doing it to" has never been a valid moral excuse for anything.

            Surely Apple and WalMart are not the only offenders.

            Refuse to buy anything stamped made in China, and then things would change.

            I did not claim to be in support of workers in China, I wish them well, but they are ultimately responsible for taking over their own fate and installing their own democracy.

            To restate: There is no way to do honest business in China when it is run by a dishonest government.

            The US and EU should refuse to trade with them until widespread human rights abuses stop and they allow free and fair elections. They don't have to be capitalist, they don't have to be like us, but they should have a similar freedom for their people and respect for human rights. We also shouldn't do business with countries that would blatantly steal and not respect global property rights.

            We supposedly believe in the laws that protect workers health and wages in our country. It is hypocritical and cowardly for us to turn around and purchase products from countries that do not respect human life the same as we do for cheaper product prices.

            Economics major flaw is that assumes people make informed decisions about which option is better, rather than the real truth that most people make uninformed decisions between the lesser of two evils.

            One can make the hollow argument that they would have no jobs if not for Apple, but that would ultimately be better for the people, China would have to formulate a new government that would not abuse its people as a economic resource to be exploited. The American revolution and the US Civil war were both difficult times, but sometimes strife is necessary to improve bad conditions.

      2. JaitcH
        Alert

        Jobs did nothing until the jumpers hit the headlines

        Apple and Jobs did precious little about working conditions in sub-contractors manufacturing plants before the bad publicity hit the headlines in the West.

        Only then, after the NGO's were involved, did he make any attempts to force suppliers to adopt even minimal standards when compared to the West.

        The manufacturing could never be done in the West because labour costs are so high: ergo Jobs makes his billions from workers in developing countries.

      3. Tempest
        Alert

        RE: Except he's trying to ensure there's no child labour, bad working conditions etc

        This report is what Apple has done AFTER being caught with it's pants down after years of abuse.

        At least they've made a partial improvement.

        Now they can spend time improving the ecology ....

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust"

      Ooh, the world's richest man (or 2nd richest, whatever) is spending one percent of his fortune on poor people, isn't he nice ?

      Well, okay, it's obviously good that he's doing that, but do not forget that he's just spending the interest, not the capital.

      So let's not transform him into St Gates yet, shall we ?

      1. Naughtyhorse
        FAIL

        oh come on..

        The dude spent more on ridding the world of malaria a couple of years ago than ITALY for christs sake!

        or to put it another way...

        what have _you_ done for your fellow man lately?

        thought so, and CNN didnt cover it!

        go figure

        1. Rob Dobs
          Stop

          Check your facts and meanings

          One CNN did cover this - see #1 result on google search for "CNN Bill Gates Malaris" below:

          http://topics.cnn.com/topics/malaria

          Further, if you make your donations to countries dependent on the same countries government buying M$ products, then you are not really a charity. Gates has been accused by more than one country of tying significant personal financial gain to his "giving".

          That is NOT Charity.

          Last: Sadam, Hitler, Bin Laden, etc all had lots of money and I am sure have records of charity at times on their record books as well. IT IS SO MUCH MORE CRITICAL TO JUDGE A PERSON BY HOW A PERSON MADE THEIR MONEY THAN BY HOW THEY SPEND IT.

          What does it mean that a man who cheated and stole billions gives away hundreds of millions.

          I more impressed by a person who works for $22k a year and still manages to give $10 to a charity.

          1. Naughtyhorse
            FAIL

            while im checking that - you go learn to read

            I guess you must have been out donating that ten bucks when english was being taught.

            (tip establish the subject of the sentance - sorry but it wasnt bill)

            way to go on that $10 BTW, after admin fees your donation must have seen a good few cents getting to the needy. that is assuming that any got to them at all (what with the well known religious bias of many charities), although I am sure that you would have been fully aware of all the ins and outs before dropping Aleander Hamilton in the box.

            bill cheated and stole? what exactly? Im no great fan of M$, and for sure if IBM hadnt done the bonehead deal that assured M$ market dominance the OS market would prolly be a better place these days. But Im finding it hard to blame bill for that - he did what he was suppsed to do, he won the game.

            and now hes curing malaria.

            IMHO a GOOD THING and you and your 10$ really should STFU until you know what you are talking about.

        2. Ascylto
          Big Brother

          Oh, really?

          Do a little more homework on Gates 'Trust' and you'll find philanthropy is a word he cannot spell let alone act upon. Billg's father was a committed eugenicist and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports China's policy which denies each child a brother or sister and encourages forced abortion. In other words ... eugenics!

          1. Naughtyhorse
            FAIL

            ah - gotbotherer alert!

            now i see.

            you dont think that in a world that is massively over populated, where resources of all kinds are running low that it is important to at least try to do something about it.

            If you really gave a toss about 'the sancitiy of human life' (or whatever your particular version of schitzophrenic discourse with a god created to explain the existence of feet in the absence of the evidence of the existence of tony {thanks for that tim :D } calls it)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DXl68NF_uI

            then maybe you would apply a higher priority to improving the living conditions and opportunities of those who are already alive, than worry about doing your best to make the problem worse.

            myself? I'm foursquare with Bill - in the boat pissing out. Whats your excuse?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust

      Ah yes, the modestly entitled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - note the second name, Gates' missus is actually the driving force behind this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Horns

        re: Gates is actually out in the world doing great good with his Trust

        Actually, I read an article a while back which said that his father was the driving force behind the foundation, concerned that his son's legacy would be even worse than his reputation. And although Gates would like everyone to think that his foundation does only good, there are some pretty significant questions about some of the organisations he funds (a bunch of creationists at one point, I believe), some of the investments held by the foundation which actually undermine the charitable work, and various cynical agendas in play (where giving computers to people actually ties them to Microsoft - now there's a surprise! - and drug-funding props up the oppressive patent system and leaves developing world countries dependent on hand-outs).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: re: Gates is actually...

          Ah, that's interesting - I was going on a Radio 4 documentary and Mrs. G seemed to be the driving force at that time. This was in the early days of the Foundation and when a spokesman was asked how much money was being used/invested/given away, he replied that they didn't like to talk in financial terms but "in terms of how much good is done."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Gates

      I wish it I had a monopoly that would give me more money than I could spend so I could then go around the world pretending to be Jesus and curing the sick and needy.

      All that wealth has been accumulated by ripping off the computer world for decades. Killing any possibility of competition in the desktop market (even IBM couldn't get anywhere despite a superior OS in OS2/warp).

  5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Grenade

    Can't win

    Some people will see this as Apple taking a lead as being a responsible company, ensuring it's sub-contractors apply the same welfare/ethic rules as it does.

    Others will claim it's just smoke & mirrors, and Apple are only doing this for PR.

    Apple can't win.

    My view ? If Apple's PR "stunt" can improve the lives of people, it can't it be that bad, can it ?

    1. CynicalOne
      Thumb Up

      @e-mouse

      Absolutely. In this case, it's not the motive that counts, but the result.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Can't win

      If only certain other companies would do the same and publish the same kind of report.

      Apple at least try - and show themselves to be trying to ensure there's no underage workers, no chemical hazards etc

    3. Nipsirc

      I think perhaps they can win

      Now I can't be certain, but I have a feeling that someone, somewhere is making a few pennies profit from Apple products. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Apple were to move their manufacturing plants to countries with good records on human rights and better working conditions they may make slightly less profit - still profit though. Perhaps if Apple were to lead the way in this - after all there's more than enough mark up in an Apple product to allow them to do it - others would follow. At least then you'd know that when you pay over the odds for a product at least there's some good coming out of it, and you'd feel slightly less cheated.

    4. Edwin
      Thumb Down

      Why Apple doesn't deserve to win:

      Because other companies have been doing this for years, and don't have nearly as much naughtiness in their supplier base.

      If Apple is finding this many issues with its suppliers, you have to wonder if they have been deliberately ignoring the whole 'corporate social responsibility' thing for the past few years in order to push profits. Didn't they also score comparatively badly in e.g. the Greenpeace eco-friendly electronics rating?

      So - it's great they've finally jumped on the bandwagon, but kudos go to the companies that got on it first.

      1. Billy Bongo

        @Edwin

        Other companies use the exact same suppliers, for example Fox Conn also supply to Nokia, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, etc...

        How many of these other companies have run reports like this and released them as transparently as this? Not to mention providing extensive support for suppliers to improve.

        The last time I checked the Greenpeace eco rating (Oct 2010) Apple were in the middle with Microsoft and Nintendo down at the poor end. Sony and Nokia were up top doing well.

    5. Rob Dobs
      FAIL

      No shortcuts

      Apple can win... they just don't want to.

      Doing the right thing would mean too much of a hit to their profit margin.

      Further fair pricing would make them MUCH more expensive than the competition (though they already are, it would be much more so).

      Apple can "Win" over the people. They don't want to.

      Apple "wins" by making money, this PR work, just helps them not get stopped from making more money.

      It's bad because its not motivated at actually solving anything, just the appearance of it. And once a few people have been "helped" they can go back to hurting a lot more people when the eyes turn away to something more interesting.

  6. Syren Baran
    WTF?

    Take Apple's word

    or rather the criticism of chinese environmental groups that rank Apple worst?

    Your choice.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5817abce-23d4-11e0-8bb1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1E1HxqFvl

  7. Steen Hive
    Flame

    Well people.

    Consumers buy shiny pieces of technological tat for bottom dollar in the full knowledge that this sort of thing is included in the real cost of it. No problem with your conscience? Fine.

    1. David Ward 1
      WTF?

      bottom dollar!!

      "bottom dollar" Clearly we are not talking about the same apple here!

  8. Simon Barnes

    getting to the rooot cause ?

    "even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides."

    talk about mising the point :(

    I've just realised my company has done nothing whatever to stop me throwing myself out of my office window...

  9. LuMan
    Thumb Up

    Looks good to me

    I wouldn't particularly call myself a fanboi, but I do like Apple products. However, when you read past stories about their suppliers' and agents' working conditions you can't help feel a little disappointed. So, when a story like this appears I'm gonna trust the author and try to regain some faith in humanity (even from Apple!).

    As has been mentioned before - if it improves lives and reduces death and injury, I say keep it up.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone - resuce the princess!

    Come on vulture hack! Get your act together !

  11. HP Cynic

    The Net

    The whole thing seems reasonable but I just can't get over Foxconn attaching nets to their building to reduce impulsive suicides - previously they attempted to cover-up the maltreatment of their workforce and the fact that some workers had literally leapt from the windows to escape. To me that should have been an instant termination of contract.

    I hope "Attached Nets to Catch Leapers" is not a tickbox on the Apple Audit form now!

  12. Leona A
    Grenade

    Proof that Apple are evil!

    and they'll probably say they knew nothing about it, of course not, enough said.

  13. Elmer Phud

    Foxconn

    Apart from sounding like another news item - Foxconn seems to be all over my PC, loads of stuff built by them in the box

    Not a fanboi myself ( I could never afford to be one) but it isn't just BigJobs who uses thier products.

  14. The Indomitable Gall

    A step in the right direction.

    This is what the campaigners who uncover these problems aim for -- make a big enough fuss (see also Primark) and companies have to stop turning a blind eye. Apple is too big to get away with anything less, but right now we still don't seem to care enough to make ethical policies into a point of competitive advantage -- and the abuse of cheap labour confers a pretty obvious competitive advantage.

    It would be good if we could at a regulatory level enforce a law stating that all overseas labour for our benefit must be held to domestic standards, but unfortunately it's impractical -- it would kill small importers.

    The solution's still far off, but while the campaigners are willing to chip away at companies one by one, the problem is slowly improving, and other companies will hopefully take a few steps to reducing their exposure to bad press....

  15. SuccessCase

    Opinion presented as fact

    "That we should read it as what it is - corporate self promotion."

    There you go again Rik, making definitive statements of opinion as though they are fact and trying to tell your readers what to think. That is another one of your comments where you are placing an imperative on us - implying what you are saying is fact when quite clearly you can't possibly know one way or the other because not you, not me, not anyone has the ability to see into the minds of men to determine their motives. Really reflect on the definitive statement you have made and you will only be able to conclude it's YOUR OPINION. The really interesting thing is when people tend to so readily give voice to opinion about the motives of others as though it is fact in this way, it is most likely to reflect on them more than it does those they are commenting on.

  16. Rich 30

    fairtrade

    I think we may start seeing more FairTrade products, like fairtrade computers, made of faritrade precious metals etc etc.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Suicide prevention

    So at apple/foxconn suicide prevention is about removing the means instead of removing the cause/desire/despair?

    i mean come on, putting nets on the buildings? how about lightening the the inhumane work load and pressures etc, how about allowing 'employees' to live life how they want, meaning off-campus, with a normal work/leisure ratio.

    Oh wait, i guess that would mean foxconn would have to charge more for their products and that would mean apple would have a less than insanely high profit margin on their overpriced harware...

    1. Ian Ferguson
      Thumb Down

      Foxconn ain't that bad, considering...

      While Foxconn seems to US to treat their workers badly, you have to remember that the worker's choice is between Foxconn and other, less well known (in the West) employers in China.

      Foxconn is practically nirvana compared to some of these outfits. Yes, pay is low and hours are long, but pay could be lower and hours could be longer. Yes, their health care may be bad, but at least there is health care.

      I think Apple should be commended for sticking with suppliers and pressurising them to improve conditions, instead of dropping them and putting thousands out of work and into even more desperate conditions.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Isn't it better?

    I'm by no means an Apple fanboy, rather the opposite (e.g. I got the wife to give away her iPod Shuffle because I didn't want to install iTunes on my PC, and I refuse to get an iPhone or an ipod touch because I do not want something that can be interpreted as a status symbol).

    However, I for one give Apple two big thumbs up for what they do with their asians suppliers. Of course their main concern is to improve their PR via publicity stunts, but what matters to me is that workers benefit from it.

    So nevermind the never happy "Apple is always evil even when they do good" comments above, and as others said before me, they deserve some praise. After all, if we bash do-gooders because their reasons are not fully ideological, others will not be encouraged to follow suit, meaning that work conditions are not going to improve in developing countries.

    So go Apple, go (and it hurts a little piece of me saying it).

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Wow! That sounds like fun!

      "I got the wife to give away her iPod Shuffle because I didn't want to install iTunes...I do not want something that can be interpreted as a status symbol"

      Sounds like a fun house you guys live in, where YOU dictate what everyone else can and cannot like!

      1. The Commenter formally known as Matt
        Joke

        Helpful guy

        <sarcasm>

        My girlfriend wants to replace here aging blackberry with an iPhone, but when she gets it I'm gonna flush it and replace it with something that is *almost* as good at meeting her requirements as the iPhone.

        My status symbol is not having anything Apple. My head is so far up my arse I can't see anything odd with that!

        </sarcasm>

  19. SuperTim
    Troll

    "impulsive suicides"

    I often casually perambulate along the tops of factory roofs, and sometimes find it hard to resist the impulse to throw myself off. I commend Foxconn for addressing this issue with the clever use of catch nets. Impulsive suicides will now be reduced in favour of premeditated suicides off buildings not fitted with said devices, so a much better result!

    1. JimC

      @impulsive suicides/nets

      The funny thing is things like this actually do reduce the number of suicides... When we had legislation in this country to reduce the amount of paracetomol pills you could buy at one time suicides actually went down. You'd think your potential suicide would just go to three shops to buy the required dose but in practice a percentage of potential suicides do seem to give up the idea if its too much hassle.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @Neil 5

    What will Apple do? Which part of "Apple has terminated business with the facility." didn't you understand, or did that line not get through your Apple hating filter?

  21. Jim_aka_Jim

    Well done Apple.

    I don't hate Steve Jobs. I certainly don't like him, but he can run the shop rather well.

    I don't hate Apple. I have the choice if I buy and iSomething or not, and reserve the right to think what ever I like about the people that do.

    To anyone that thinks that any company improving obvously terrible work conditions, for empolyees that may not have much choice about where they work, is some how bad: I bite my thumb at you sir.

  22. dz-015

    Cynicism has its place, but that place is not here

    Apple has a long history of ethical behaviour, especially when it comes to human rights. Please do your research and give them credit accordingly for being decent, instead of claiming that it's just a publicity stunt.

  23. Semaj
    Unhappy

    On the other hand

    So it seems good that Apple is sorting out this nastyness but if you think about it, forcing suppliers to close down by cancelling the contracts is surely going to make their workers unemployed and die of starvation or have to get even worse jobs.

    I don't know what the answer is but surely in the eyes of the workers they would rather work somewhere bad than not be able to afford food at all?

  24. Robbie
    Thumb Up

    ANY attempt...

    ... to improve the life of these workers who feed our ever growing need for electronic tat is a damn good thing. Now I don't believe for one moment that Apple are angels, but they are using their power and influence in a good way (at least in this arena).

    So less of the snark from people on *this* issue -- there's *plenty* of other things to whinge about when it comes to Apple, but this isn't one of them. I should know, I rant about Apple all the time and I'm a fanboy!

  25. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Suicide nets and Child Labour.

    So Apple are decreeing that their subcontractors have to catch people in nets and that they aren't allowed to use the small ones?

    Hint for Apple: Put the book on International Fisheries agreements back on the shelf. The Employment Law tome is the next one along.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working Conditions

    If Apple (and other companies) are so worried about working conditions in the Middle/Far East why do they do business there in the first place?

    Simple answer... Cheap Labour = More Profits.

    If they so concerned about working practises then they should build factories in US, UK, etc but they won't do that it will cost too much to pay the staff.

  27. Tempest
    FAIL

    "even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides"

    If any Western company boasted of this 'feature' their customers would shop elsewhere. This such a very sad commentary on the West's 'exploitation' of developing countries - and not by Apple alone.

    That it happens in factories owned by Taiwanese Chinese entrepreneurs makes little difference.

    Just so Westerners have an upscale electronic toy to play with. I hope people who use these devices manufactured by Foxconn spend a minute thinking about the implications.

    I think the use of the word 'impulsive' is wrong as I suspect the urge to end ones life takes time to develop: a more suitable word might be 'opportunistic'.

    There is NO excusing 'inadequate safety devices, lack of first-aid supplies, improper handling of hazardous chemicals' as Western countries often make the employer responsible for minimising chemical exposure and 'n-hexane' has long been recognised as having serious side effects - and used just to minimise fingerprints.

    I hope Jobs feels appropriately guilty as he counts his filthy lucre.

    1. The Commenter formally known as Matt
      Stop

      Good Point

      >Just so Westerners have an upscale electronic toy to play with. I hope people who use these devices manufactured by Foxconn spend a minute thinking about the implications.

      You are right, we should all boycott these devices until the factories close down and all the employees are unemployed, that's the only possible way to improve their lives.

      >There is NO excusing 'inadequate safety devices, lack of first-aid supplies, improper handling of hazardous chemicals'

      So you agree with Apple? That this is unacceptable and needs improving, then why the 'fail' icon?

      >I hope Jobs feels appropriately guilty as he counts his filthy lucre.

      Yes cos making a profit is obviously wrong, having contracts with third world manufacturers and boosting their economy is absolutely wrong and then going into their business, looking around their factories and forcing them to improve the working conditions is unforgivable!

      I'm not an Apple fan, but dude get a grip!

      1. JaitcH
        Thumb Down

        Apple has had years to improve conditions: only publicity made them move

        N-HEXANE has been around since around the 1990's so it's properties are well known.

        Have a read of < http://scorecard.goodguide.com/chemical-profiles/summary.tcl?edf_substance_id=110-54-3 > which was issued in 2005.

        Additionally, Messrs. Hathaway GJ, Proctor NH, Hughes JP, and Fischman M (1991). Proctor and Hughes' chemical hazards of the workplace. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold. that addresses this chemical.

        Again, Apple responded to bad publicity so this report is a response to complaints from earlier times and shows Apple is now, at long last, sensitised to the problem.

        Apple didn't place contracts in developing countries from the viewpoint of improving their citizens lot in life, Apple did it since regulatory controls are lax (obviously) and that manufacturing costs are lower. Americans couldn't make most things with a fruit logo on them because Apple couldn't make such a profit.

        The same situation has existed in other industries including clothing and shoes where conditions were only improved AFTER Western NGO's found out what the conditions were like.

        Countries that permit imports of anything made overseas should require that conditions in the manufacturing plants must conform to AT LEAST those mandated in the country of import, only then would workers safety be ensured..

        P.S. N-Hexane is used to extract sunflower oil used for cooking. Yum, Yum!

        1. The Commenter formally known as Matt
          Troll

          The point of your post?

          Okay, so manufacturing involves some particularly nasty (an unhealthy) chemical and local companies work to local standards (i.e. not ours).

          Apple (or pretty much every western electronics company) contracts these manufacturers to make products for a nice low price. Apple (and pretty much every electronics company) are pretty much forced to pick up these contracts in developing countries rather than western (uk/usa etc) ones (high cost of living/high wages/low quality/lazy union workers etc - these all are a much much higher cost than ensuring fair working conditions) due to cost (and quality)

          Someone then finds out about some of the poor conditions in these factories and there is a lot of bad publicity.

          Apple then investigate/identify problems/start demanding manufacturers fix problems - all behind the scenes, while saying nothing in public.

          Some time later Apple publish a report, highlighting the problems and their fixes/improvements..

          Troll-tards on the register claim they only did it for good PR not because they actually care about people (proof? - thought not) and they took to long to do it anyway so the whole thing counts for nothing and anyway look at Apple prices, high higher than the raw costs, and people value their products enough to buy the products. Well I guess it could be the superior product and understanding of what non-techies want, nah it must be that Apple fans are stupid!

          And the most bizarre thing is after reading the comments I feel compelled to defend Apple (or at least point out why I disagree with a lot of the comments)

        2. The Commenter formally known as Matt
          Grenade

          >Apple has had years

          >Apple didn't place contracts in developing countries from the viewpoint of improving their citizens lot in life, Apple did it since regulatory controls are lax (obviously) and that manufacturing costs are lower. Americans couldn't make most things with a fruit logo on them because Apple couldn't make such a profit.

          I doubt they care about local regulation, they went there because it was cheap and meets their quality requirements.

          It's just an added bonus if you contract to another company to do something then you can treat it as a black box. You pay a premium (i.e the factories profits) because their internal processes and workforce treatment is their responsibility that you don't have to get involv.. oh wait.

  28. Jedit
    FAIL

    "We mine gold, which refines into gold"

    Well, it's news for Apple, I guess - they've spent most of the last decade refining shit into gold.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very well...

    This is all very well, these reports seem to show Apple trying to move forward and do the right thing, but what about the due dilligence work that should have been carried out prior to signing contracts? It does seem to stink of doing the right thing after they've been caught out.

    You just have to look at Steve Jobs attitude towards Greenpeace when they suggested that Apple stopped using various rather unplesant chemicals. It was along the lines of "why don't the stick to saving whales". Although now that it appears their customers want Apple to become more environmentally friendly, they seem to be improving...

    1. Hans 1
      Grenade

      Apple no angel

      Have you ever made business with Asian companies? The contract can be all hippy etc, but as soon as you turn your back, they do it their way. As said above, all computer vendors often use these same facilities as well and have, apparently, never complained ...

      As said above many times, again, the objective is good, who cares about the reasons behind it and why would you criticize a company for providing what its customer's want, like more environmentally friendly products? Especially when most other players, if not all, do not care about the environment - remember HP's boxes?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Err...

        I do do business with various Asiapac divisions of the company I work for - the key is to carry out due dilligence work, don't just assume that everything that you are told is happening is actually happening and have people visit them. This is just the same as working in the UK, USA, Europe, Africa etc. etc. and is good governence.

        I think that it's a good thing that they're finally sorting out the problems at their facillities. However, I don't think they should be given too much credit when the only reason that they're sorting them out is that they were shown to be complacent in employment practices in the first place. Stopping doing something bad is not the same as doing something good.

  30. Juan Inamillion
    Troll

    @Tempest

    Beware: Troll alert.

  31. Tempest
    FAIL

    "even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides"

    If any Western company boasted of this 'feature' their customers would shop elsewhere. This such a very sad commentary on the West's 'exploitation' of developing countries - and not by Apple alone.

    That it happens in factories owned by Taiwanese Chinese entrepreneurs makes little difference.

    All this so Westerners have an upscale electronic toy to play with. I hope people who use these devices manufactured by Foxconn spend a minute thinking about the implications.

    I think the use of the word 'impulsive' is wrong as I suspect the urge to end ones life takes time to develop: a more suitable word might be 'opportunistic'.

    There is NO excusing 'inadequate safety devices, lack of first-aid supplies, improper handling of hazardous chemicals' as Western countries often make the employer responsible for minimising chemical exposure and 'n-hexane' has long been recognised as having serious side effects - and used just to minimise fingerprints.

    I hope Jobs feels appropriately guilty as he counts his filthy lucre.

  32. Jemma
    FAIL

    ...fanbois coming down, three jerks at two ten...

    You know it doesn't really matter at the end of the day - the facts speak for themselves - $280 all in for parts to make an whyPhone 4 - and we get to pay between $700 and £800 for the privilege of owning one...

    Yet you can buy an android handset that can do as much and more for £250...

    Is any of this getting through to you lot of Fanbois yet? Apple are, have always been, and will always be profiteers working on your gullibility to sell overpriced tat - I wouldn't put it past them to install catch nets on buildings on the basis that falling humans tend to splat - and be working behind the scenes on suicide booths ala futurama, but which only allow you certain apple specified ways of topping yourself and charge you into the bargain for the privilege...

    Oh wait, thats Orange mobile customer support...

    When apple use their record profits to pay their workers in China *directly* a decent living wage @ decent hours, with decent housing and medical etc built in to the contracts, then there'll be one less in the myriad of reasons why I wouldn't touch an iPhone with someone else's bargepole.

    Ironic isn't it - Apple sets up medical care - and it was Apple and their shoddy attention to detail that made them ill in the first place - and whats the betting that the n-hexane poisoning was treated as a 'pre-existing condition' and therefore wasn't covered..

    ooooh, then theres dead peasants insurance, you can be Apple wont have missed that one either...

    Steve Jobs could be the lord god almighty himself and I still wouldn't buy anything with an apple label on it, nor will my family, nor will my families families families family... not while I still draw breath.. hmm, I could put a clause in my will, any member who buys an apple product will be disowned and disinherited on the spot...

    getting the hint yet Fanbois?

    1. Harvid

      @Jemma

      That was a hateful rant. But I really have to ask you where the hell you think your precious android handset is produced?

      (Hint: because you're so blinded with hate, I'll just let you know that it's one assembly line over in the same megafactory, but you wouldn't know it because the company that you buy from doesn't want to improve things for the worker's lest it cause you to pay more or hurt their bottom line).

  33. SimpleUser
    Grenade

    At AC (comment dtd 15th February 2011 10:45 GMT) and TFW reply

    AC, completely in agreement with TFW reply to your description of houshold practices at your place.

    You 'got the wife' to give away her Apple player ! Great ! You must be a very convincing man,

    how did you do this (I mean, just for the benefit of all of us) ?

    How did she obtain such a devils tool in the first place ? You been away on business travel ?

    Make sure that doesn't happen again, but, I guess you already took counter actions to prevent this. The good and caringg man you are.

    Lastly, and not only on this occasion, to me you sometimes display a very patronizing kind of attitude towards co-contributors sharing their views to articles.

    Give it a thought or two.

    And, btw., since you already labeled other contributors as 'Idiot' feel free to repeat yourselves.

    Best wishes anyway-

  34. Christoph
    Flame

    What about the really backward countries?

    Will they apply the same child labour policy to the really backward mediaeval countries such as the United States of America?

    http://www.firedupmissouri.com/content/jane-cunningham-says-enough-our-stupid-child-labor-laws-already

  35. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Wow

    Hard earned dollars are exported to China or wherever else is cheapest for essentially what is supposed to be a local product , primarily for the local market (read US) - and you all argue over the sanctity of the CEO?

    An American, premium mobile phone, manufacturer outsources the production of a high margin product to the cheapest supplier who happens to based in China, and you fret over the fact that an outsourcing company has psychologists on call 24/7?

    Apple profits are not helping local manufactures or suppliers in the US (raw materials / components / services etc). Apple is not helping the local labour force, which the last time we listened to the news, was not all that healthy BTW!

    Chinese manufacturers have the ability to “build to a price” and once the labour cost is trimmed to the minimum, a lack of proper legislation and inspection in conjunction with a questionable regulator means that the manufacturing process becomes compromised and products become substandard therefore employees and consumers are hurt. – What’s new? Despite an endless list of compromised products, from toothpaste to pet food to toys – we still buy!

    And here we are - iPod junkies and Apple IIc Lusers arguing the canonization of St. Steve! (To add insult to injury it’s the canonization Jobs and not Wozniak)

    BTW – when Jobs gives away 30 Billion $ to charity, then we can compare him to Gates and Buffet otherwise he is no different than any other CEO!

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