Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Responded Back On the Claim, Says Apple Cares About Every Worker In Its Supply Chain Facilities

Posted on Jan 27 2012 - 12:18pm by Editorial Staff

A day after a NY Times report stating harsh working conditions at Apple’s component suppliers in China. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company cares about every worker in its supply chain and that any suggestion to the contrary was patently false and offensive in nature. Cook addressed the issues highlighting the report in an e-mail sent to employees today.

The New York Times published a report that profiled hazardous factory conditions – recounted an explosion at a plant in Chengdu that killed four, focusing on the final months for Lai Xiaodong, a 22-year-old who had worked a few months at the Foxconn Technologies plant where the iPad is produced. The report linked to scores of injuries and a handful of deaths.

In addition to this, a former Foxconn executive said, “Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost.” On top of all of that, the report shares word from former Apple executives, such as this quote: “We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on.”

Some key points from the email:

“Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.”

“We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.”

Tim Cook’s Email:

Team,

As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.

For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.

At the same time, no one has been more up front about the challenges we face. We are attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world’s foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor. It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader.

Earlier this month we opened our supply chain for independent evaluations by the Fair Labor Association. Apple was in a unique position to lead the industry by taking this step, and we did it without hesitation. This will lead to more frequent and more transparent reporting on our supply chain, which we welcome. These are the kinds of actions our customers expect from Apple, and we will take more of them in the future.

We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

To those within Apple who are tackling these issues every day, you have our thanks and admiration. Your work is significant and it is changing people’s lives. We are all proud to work alongside you.

Tim

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts led by Karan Chopra.