Apple has announced that the Fair Labor Association will conduct voluntary audits of Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple's request. Inspections began Monday in Shenzhen.
In a press release issued this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."
The FLA's inspection procedure will consist of three main parts. Interviews with employees regarding living conditions, work place safety, compensation and hours; physical inspections of dormitories and work areas; and review of documents "...related to procedures at all stages of employment."
Apple recently came under fire for working conditions at some of its assembly partners' plants, prompting some concerned customers to deliver petitions to Apple Stores.
"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."
As part of its independent assessment, the FLA will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA's team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.
Apple's suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA's findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website, www.fairlabor.org. Similar inspections will be conducted at Quanta and Pegatron facilities later this Spring, and when completed, the FLA's assessment will cover facilities where more than 90 percent of Apple products are assembled.
Apple has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final assembly facilities. Details of Apple's supplier responsibility program, including the results of more than 500 factory audits led by Apple throughout its supply chain over the past five years, are available at www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility.
In January, Apple became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association. The FLA conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA's Workplace Standards are upheld wherever FLA company products are made.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.