Apple published its report on how it is monitoring contractors to meet standards of worker protection and responsibility.
Apple reports that it originated 229 audits throughout its supply chain in 2011, up 80% over 2010, with special emphasis on worker safety and working conditions.
The company notes it has required Apple-designed training programs for more than 1 million supply chain employees. Apple has been criticized in the past for not revealing all the supplier relationships it maintains, and the report now shows a list of 156 companies which represent 97% of Apple's procurement expenditures.
Apple also claims to have made a concerted effort to stop the hiring of underage employees. The audits are said to have resulted in dramatic reductions in underage labor, and the most recent reports says no underage workers were found at final assembly suppliers.
Apple and other consumer electronic product makers have been fiercely criticized about working conditions in the contract plants that assemble electronics products. Monologuist Mike Daisey, who chronicled his observations of labor practices among Apple's supplier firms in his one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, is featured on this past week's episode of PRI's This American Life, along with the show's production team's investigation into his findings.
If you're interested you can read Apple's full supplier-responsibility report in PDF form.