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Apple cuts ties with supplier over child labour use

25 Jan 2013
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Apple has revealed it cut ties with one of its suppliers after discovering the company was breaking child labour laws.

The iPhone maker made the revelation in its latest supplier responsibility report, claiming its decision to cut ties with the company was proof of its commitment to ethical work practices.

"In January 2012, we audited a supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics (PZ) that produces a standard circuit board component used by many other companies in many industries.

"Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16 - a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ."

Apple claims it reported the violations to relevant local authorities and that the children were safely returned to their families.

"We don't allow suppliers to act unethically or in ways that threaten the rights of workers - even when local laws and customs permit such practices. We're working to end excessive work hours, prohibit unethical hiring policies, and prevent the hiring of underage workers," added the report.

The audits follow numerous reports of human rights violations, including the use of underage workers, at the Chinese Foxconn factory. The factory remains one of the biggest manufacturers of Apple products.

Apple said that it has increased the number of audits it enacts each year to help ensure a similar situation does not occur, claiming there has been a 72 percent increase in the amount of audits conducted in the supply chain in comparison to 2011.

That suggests Apple enacted a total of 393 audits, covering manufacturers that looked after 1.5 million employees.

The report said that of the companies audited 95 percent of suppliers within Apple's supply chain comply with working age regulations. The figure is a marked increase on the number 38 percent figure highlighted in last year's report.

Despite the positive child level statistics the report also revealed that a number of suppliers used by Apple do not comply with environmental law. The report revealed that almost 150 of Apple's suppliers failed to properly store or handle potentially hazardous chemicals.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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