Apple uncovers child labour at 11 supplier factories

28 January 2013

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28 January 2013 | Adam Leach

Apple discovered child labour being used at 11 of its supplier factories last year, with 106 instances currently being acted upon.

The figures were revealed in the Apple Supplier Responsibility: 2013 Progress Report published this month. Over the past year, the company found incidents of children being employed in contravention of the its supplier code at 11 factories. In total, there are 106 cases currently being resolved, and 70 that have been dealt with.

It uncovered 74 cases of child labour at a single factory and, as a result, terminated its business with the supplier. Where vendors were found to be employing children, they were required to send them back to school and finance their education, while continuing to pay them the wages they were earning without requiring them to work.

Apple’s code states that the minimum age for employment is the highest of either 15 years old; the minimum age of employment in the relevant country; or the age for completing compulsory education.

“Our approach to underage labour is clear: we don’t tolerate it and we’re working to eradicate it from our industry… when we discover suppliers with underage labour or find out about historical cases… we demand immediate corrective action,” the report said.

The report also found 147 facilities were not storing or handling chemicals properly, such as not providing separate storage facilities for incompatible chemicals. It also found that 85 facilities had failed to label hazardous waste, storage and chemical containers, while 119 did not have management procedures for labelling hazardous materials.

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