Annually, always in the first half, Apple releases a new edition of its Annual Supplier Responsibility Report – a document in which the company details, with information and numbers, progress (or lack thereof) in its work to improve working conditions at partner and supplier facilities, in addition to reducing polluting gas emissions and guaranteeing business only with socially responsible companies.
Because the report for the last 12 months has just been published [PDF] – and, of course, it has a very strong focus on the pandemic of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), in the containment measures adopted by Apple and its partners to avoid exposure of workers to the disease, and other related risks.
Among the policies implemented by the Apple partners, the following were highlighted:
- Mandatory use of personal protective equipment (face masks or shields) during work and in common areas;
- Application of temperature measurements and other health screening;
- Availability of masks and gel alcohol for employees;
- Implementation of deep cleaning protocols in the facilities;
- Reconfiguration of factory floor spaces to implement measures of social distance;
- Implementation of flexible or staggered work schedules to reduce the number of people on the premises at the same time.
Apple has created a complete COVID-19 containment plan among its partners, and has said it will share the document with other companies in the industry to perhaps create a standard that will be adopted across the industry.
Other data have also been made available: the company, for example, classifies its partners as “high performance”, “medium performance” or “low performance” according to measurements of labor and human rights groups. In 2019, the rate of high-performance partners reached a record 82%, while those considered low-performance fell to less than 1% – also an unprecedented index.
Among some of the advances highlighted by Apple in its document, we can mention:
- The company now participates in 100% of the audits of suppliers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold and cobalt;
- More than 19.4 million employees of the company’s suppliers have received guidance on labor rights since 2008;
- More than 52,000 supplier employees were interviewed about their experience in their workplaces;
- Throughout 2019, Apple recorded a 53% growth in the number of partners committed to zeroing their emissions – more than 50 are already certified in this regard;
- More than 115 billion liters of fresh water have been preserved by suppliers since the implementation of Apple’s water-saving policies.
About the information released by Apple, the company’s senior vice president of operations, Sabih Khan, stated the following:
The environment we all share is fragile, and we are more dedicated than ever to fighting climate change and reducing our emissions. Through strategic partnerships, we are helping our partners to reduce their carbon footprints and save precious resources, such as water and energy. Green manufacturing is smart manufacturing, and – more broadly – we know that what is good for the environment is also good for business.
As much as COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge, we also absorb hope and inspiration in people’s renewed focus on the health of their colleagues, friends and neighbors. This awareness – of our health and that of others – is something that we can always carry with us.
Our work to protect people and the planet may never end – but we are more certain than ever that our brightest days are yet to come.
It is worth noting that, in addition to the PDF document, Apple also posted a special page on its website (the page in Portuguese has not yet been updated), condensing the report data and providing some extra information. It is worth checking.