Sorry, this is no follow up of Naomi Klein’s celebrated book No Logo, which exposes the dark secrets of the working environments in the factories of many big brands. Nor is this the expose by any investigative journalist. The hard truths were revealed by Apple itself, which conducted an onsite audit of its 102 facilities recently.
Apple’s 2010 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which audits third-party vendors to ensure that “the companies we do business with… provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made” makes for some shocking reading: 17 core violations, including child labour, falsified records, underpayment, overwork, and a whopping 57 vendors who have been cheating workers out of legally required benefits like sick leave and maternity leave.
As a long-time user of Apple products, I am deeply disturbed. However, considering that Apple themselves have revealed these violations, let’s hope it is because they are genuinely concerned about labour and human rights, and that it is not merely a PR exercise.