Computer giant Apple is once again forced to examine its supply chain, particularly in China. Earlier this year, Apple introduced its Supplier Responsibility Program report, one of the most transparent reports on a company’s suppliers to date. Their own report revealed labor rights violations in addition to 150 instances of suppliers mishandling the hazardous waste materials required for manufacturing high-tech parts. Apple says they are continuing to work with their suppliers to eliminate these problems.
Yet Apple fell under new allegations of labor and environmental issues this week, as the labor rights group China Labor Watch (CLW) issued its own report, claiming that Apple’s supplier Pegatron was found to have violated 86 labor rights regulations, including employing underage workers, requiring workers to work excessive hours, and other concerns over the health and safety conditions of the workers.
Though CLW’s report was primarily focused on labor violations, it also claims that the supplier was illegally dumping waste water from the facility directly into the sewage system, polluting the local drinking water supply. According to CLW, the conditions found at Pegatron were even worse than those uncovered earlier at Foxconn.
Apple immediately responded to the allegations, stating their intentions to go back and investigate Pegatron to conduct special inspections this week. Apple said if the supplier is found to have violated labor policies, they would demand that Pegatron reimburse workers for excess working hours. Apple went on to describe their thorough review process, which includes reviewing time cards and other documents within the company to find evidence of falsification. Apple declared, “We will not tolerate deviation from our code [of conduct].”
Apple has conducted 15 audits at Pegatron and two of their suppliers, RiTeng and AVY) since 2007, including surprise audits during the past 18 months. Pegatron’s chief executive Jason Cheng also plans to launch an internal investigation of the company in response to the claims by CLW.