Feb 13 Apple Inc uncovered fewer cases
of child labor than a year ago in its annual survey of the
international supply chain that makes parts for its iPhones and
In its eighth annual supply-chain report, Apple also said
the metal tantalum, an essential component in many electronic
products, had not been sourced from war zones.
Apple, the world's most valuable technology company, has
been accused by labor rights groups of building profits on the
back of poorly treated and underpaid workers in Asia.
The company, which sold 150 million iPhones in 2013, audited
451 plants operated by various parts suppliers. Collectively,
these plants employ nearly 1.5 million people. ()
Apple's latest audit found 23 underage workers at companies
supplying it with components. The previous year's audit had
uncovered 74 underage workers at a single supplier.
In the report, Apple said some third-party recruiters had
hired young workers illegally and without the knowledge of the
hiring companies. ()
Cupertino, Califorina-based Apple relies heavily on Asian
partners, such as Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, for the
assembly of its iPhones and iPads.
Further up the supply chain, companies must procure
essential metals such as tantalum, sometimes known as 'conflict
minerals' due to their sale by armed groups in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Angola and South Sudan.
Apple said its suppliers did not procure tantalum from any
third-party providers linked to armed groups in various warring
"In January 2014 we confirmed that all active, identified
tantalum smelters in our supply chain were verified as
conflict-free by third-party auditors," Apple said in the
"We're pushing our suppliers of tin, tungsten and gold just
as hard to use verified sources," the company said.
The latest report identified 106 facilities that did not pay
night-shift workers appropriately for legal holidays, and 105
plants that did not provide sufficient social insurance.
Apple said it had identified some abuses of migrant workers
and, as a result, required suppliers to reimburse foreign
contract workers $3.9 million in excessive fees paid to labor
Apple's suppliers achieved an average of 95 percent
compliance with its standard maximum 60-hour work week, the
company said in the report.