Tim Cook has responded to the allegations made by the New York Times about the working conditions in Foxconn’s factories in China and Apple’s responsibility in the matter through an email to its workers in which he describes them as false and offensive .
According to Apple’s CEO, his company is very involved in improving the working conditions of its workers wherever they are, and although he acknowledges that there are problems, he points out the great efforts they have made in the last year to change the situation. These efforts, according to Cook, will go deeper into their supply chain and encourage any worker who is aware of irregular situations to speak out to correct them.
As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately, some people are questioning Apple’s values and I would like to address the issue directly with you. We care about all the workers in our supply chain around the world. We care deeply about any accidents, and any problems with working conditions are cause for attention. Any suggestion that we don’t care is false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone else, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.
I know that all of you who are at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spending long periods of time working away from your families, are as outraged by this as I am. And I believe that people who are not so close to the supply chain have a right to know the facts.
Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and deepening the supply chain. As reported earlier this month, we have made great progress in improving conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We don’t know anyone in our industry who is doing as much as we are, in so many places and with so many people.
At the same time, no one has been more frank about the challenges we face. We are attacking the problems aggressively with the help of the world’s highest authorities on safety, the environment and labour rights. It would be easy to look for the problems in fewer places and provide reports with the most beautiful results, but these should not be the actions of a leader.
Earlier this month we opened our supply chain to independent assessments by the Fair Labor Association. Apple was in a unique position to lead the industry in taking this step and we did so without hesitation. This will lead to more frequent and transparent reporting on our supply chain, which we are happy to do. This is the kind of action our customers have come to expect from Apple, and we will do more like it in the future.
We are focused on informing workers about their rights, so they are encouraged to speak up when they detect unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than one million people have completed this training programme.
We will continue to dig deeper, and we will certainly find more problems. What we are not going to do, and have never done, is stand still or turn a blind eye to the problems in our supply chain. I give you my word on this. You can follow our progress on apple.comsupplierresponsibility.
For those of you inside Apple who face these issues every day, you have our thanks and admiration. Your work is important and is changing people’s lives. We are proud to work with you.