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Apple reportedly took years to release a vendor that used underage labor



In 2013, Apple found that one of its suppliers, Suyin Electronics, a company that made HDMI and USB ports for the company’s MacBook series, had hired underage workers. The manufacturer promised to clean up the act, but a follow-up investigation from Apple found that three minor workers, including a 14-year-old, found Suyin’s assembly line. While Apple did not give Suyin new work after the findings, it continued to work with the company due to some existing contracts, and it took the better part of three years before it finally cut ties.

In the second example, Apple conducted a study of Biel Crystal, a company that makes glass screens for the iPhone. After Apple found out that “the environmental, health and safety culture in Biel is weak among all management levels,”

; it called for more than two dozen corrective measures. However, Biel had not yet implemented many of the improvements Apple ordered one year after the investigation, and the two continued to work on each other, in part because removing Biel from the supply chain would have left Apple a single supplier of glass displays. This is something the company tries to avoid at all costs because it can leverage two suppliers against each other to get the best price for components. It also allows Apple to avoid situations that arose when there were single-source modems from Intel.

In the specific case, punishment for Biel would also have meant moving orders to Lens Technology. It’s the company Washington Post said this week using forced Uighur labor to make parts for Apple, Amazon and other companies.

A spokesman for Apple said The information the company has “the strictest standards in the industry to ensure that workers throughout our supply chain are treated with dignity and respect … We monitor the suppliers we work with closely, and if any issues arise, we move quickly to ensure that they are addressed and resolved or we end the relationship, as we have done many times. ”We have contacted Apple for further comments, and we will update this article when we hear back from the company.

Although Apple says it has cut ties with manufacturers many times before, its own reporting suggests otherwise. Since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, the company has removed 22 plants from the supply chain. A small fraction of the more than 2,000 locations around the world help produce the company’s products.


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