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Apple scorned because of transparency

Apple is being cut down in the media right after the company published its Supplier Responsibility Progress Report 2010 last weekend.  Headlines as ‘Apple admits using child labour’ and ‘Apple admits child labour was used to build iPods and iPhones in Chinese factories’ were published on the websites of newspapers.

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Apple said that in 2 percent of the monitored cases, core violations were detected: three factories had previously hired 15-year-old workers and in other factories workers had exceeded their weekly work-hour limits per employer (which are already 60 hours a week) more than 50 percent of the time. These findings illustrate the problems the whole electronics industry is struggling with, SOMO has been reporting on this for years now.

It sounds contradictory, but according to Rank a Brand, Apple is a forerunner when it comes to labour conditions, having achieved 4 out of 6 points in our ranking (see link). Only Sony Ericsson and HP also achieved this score. These companies audit actively in their factories, take action when abusive situations are found and do publish about this. Other big brands, such as Panasonic, Microsoft and Toshiba prefer to put their heads in the sand.

But the thing everybody seems to be forgetting is that the labour rights violating factories which have been pointed out by Apple not only produce the Mac or the iPhone, but also products from other brands. So not only Apple is ‘guilty’ of child labour, but it is one of the few companies that is actually honestly publishing about it. And even more importantly: Apple is doing something about it. And isn’t that exactly what it’s all about?

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