Tim Cook's Email to Apple Staff Regarding Supplier Responsibility Report


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Earlier today, Apple released its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, an annual report that was supplemented for the first time by a public list of over 150 companies that supply components and manufacturing services to the company.

As related by French site MacGeneration, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following email to company employees today addressing the developments on the supplier responsibility front:

We've just released our sixth annual update on conditions in Apple's supply chain, and I want to personally share some of the results with you.

We insist that our manufacturing partners follow Apple's strict code of conduct, and to make sure they do, the Supplier Responsibility team led more than 200 audits at facilities throughout our supply chain last year. These audits make sure that working conditions are safe and just, and if a manufacturer won't live up to our standards, we stop working with them.

Thanks to our supplier responsibility program, we've seen dramatic improvements in hiring practices by our suppliers. To prevent the use of underage labor, our team interviews workers, checks employment records and audits the age verification systems our suppliers use. These efforts have been very successful and, as a result, cases of underage labor were down sharply from last year. We found no underage workers at our final assembly suppliers, and we will not rest until the number is zero everywhere.

We've also used our influence to substantially improve living conditions for the people who make our products. Apple set a new standard for suppliers who offer employee housing, to ensure that dormitories are comfortable and safe. To meet our requirements, many suppliers have renovated their dorms or built new ones altogether.

Finding and correcting problems is not enough. Our team has built an ambitious training program to educate workers about Apple's code of conduct, workers' rights, and occupational health and safety. More than one million people know about these rights because they went to work for an Apple supplier. Additionally, Apple offers continuing education programs free of charge at many manufacturing sites in China. More than 60,000 workers have enrolled in classes to learn business, entrepreneurial skills or English.

Finally, we are taking a big step today toward greater transparency and independent oversight of our supply chain by joining the Fair Labor Association. The FLA is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving conditions for workers around the world, and we are the first technology company they've approved for membership. The FLA's auditing team will have direct access to our supply chain and they will report their findings independently on their website.

No one in our industry is driving improvements for workers the way Apple is today. I encourage you to take some time to read more about these efforts, so that you can be as proud of Apple's contributions in this area as I am. The details are online now at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

Today has been a busy day on the environmental responsibility and worker rights fronts for Apple, with the company also announcing a partnership with the Fair Labor Association to monitor conditions at suppliers' facilities and an expanded recycling program in the UK, Germany, and France. News also surfaced today regarding Apple's efforts to transition to halogen-free power and USB cables for its products.

Article Link: Tim Cook's Email to Apple Staff Regarding Supplier Responsibility Report


macrumors 6502a
May 11, 2009
Or you could take some of those billions of dollars you're sitting on and those new billions of dollars in profits you make and work with suppliers to open some factories in the US.


macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2002
After the This American Life podcast that came out exposing the poor working conditions, they are going to need this PR.
Or possibly, This American Life knew that Apple was due to release their annual report on their suppliers and figured that this was a good time to pump up the publicity.


Feb 17, 2009
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.
I don't think it took Tim to become CEO to do this.

These programs were most likely in place already, just not used for PR.

Impossible that even under Jobs Apple wouldn't monitor its suppliers.

Apple is too smart for that.


Jan 19, 2002
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.
Because Steve Jobs never caved into the "bragging" mindset that all expect. He knew Apple was doing the right thing and that's all that mattered to him. This is what infuriated Green Peace the most - that Steve Jobs never gave them what they wanted... an environmental roadmap, which is how Green Peace rates companies; not on what they do, but what they promise to do whether they do it or not, which seems really stupid.

I think being the former "supply guy," Tim Cook is more in tune with what's expected and more willing to be transparent about it, especially since he's the one that made it happen.


macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Where is China's Government?

This is a nice "courtesy" response from Apple, and I am sure MSFT, etc. have similar practices in place due to all the negative publicity in recent years.

Seems the real issue is the [lack] of Chinese government intervention. It should be other nations pressuring them to shape up along with Apple, etc.

It is sick this issue even exists.


Jan 19, 2002
Good to see Tim caring about human atrocities, unlike his predecessor.
Yeah, this is the dumbest post of the year so far.

Do you really think that this only happened after Jobs was gone? This has been going on a long time, they just never released their findings until now.


macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2008
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.
To do what?

Something that irks me after reading the WSJ article and comments is the lack of mention that these reports are annual and have been going on since 2007. The first sentence of the WSJ article implies that, along with the supplier list, this is the first time Apple has released such a report. The comments made by several readers there also suggest that these folks think this is the first time Apple have conducted these audits and so, of course, assume it's all down to pressure due to the recent Foxxconn employee conditions reports.

The only difference between this report and last year's is that this one is more thorough. Much in the same way as the only difference between the 2011 and 2010 reports is that the 2011 report was more thorough.

It's frustrating that this wasn't communicated in - what I've been led to believe is - a high-profile newspaper.


macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
New England, USA
I really want to believe that Apple is taking these steps in earnest, and not just some PR b**sh**. If it helps sell more product - fine. I don't care about motivation, I only care about actions. If Apple is seriously pursuing improved conditions for the workers who produce stuff for them, I think that is commendable.

And, yes, I know the responsibility ultimately lies with the companies employing the workers. Apple's power lies in the potential threat to stop doing business with the offending company and take their business elsewhere. That's powerful incentive for the companies to comply with Apple's "Code of Conduct".

I do think that Apple has every right to set standards for companies with which they do business. They can't force the companies to comply - they can give them a choice. This choice is frequently cited by those saying that if workers don't like the working conditions, they can leave the company and get another job. This, too, applies to the company and it"s continuing relationship with Apple.
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macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2007
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X; en_US) AppleWebKit (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile [FBAN/FBForIPhone;FBAV/4.1;FBBV/4100.0;FBDV/iPhone4,1;FBMD/iPhone;FBSN/iPhone OS;FBSV/5.0.1;FBSS/2; FBCR/Verizon;FBID/phone;FBLC/en_US;FBSF/2.0])

If these are the kinds of things Cook does for Apple, ... I love it.


macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
Who cares if it's because they genuinely care (they probably do) or if it's for PR. Either way they rolled out this initiative. End result is the same.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2003
the question I have is why Macrumors (Arn & co.) didn't post about the TAL podcast. Was this an editorial decision, an economic decision, or an oversight?


macrumors regular
May 2, 2006
Bottom line, everyone knows these factory managers change everything up when the auditers come through. What good is an audit if everybody knows and management puts on a huge dog and pony show?


macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2006
San Luis Obispo, CA
Not sure why it took until Tim Cook was CEO to do this, but good on them.
It is great but it would be nice if he was as concerned about his retail employees. Allowing Work Place Bullies in Apple management at retail stores is the utmost abuse. Work place bullies are hard to catch because they are devious but even harder to catch when HR protects them. Our local store (SLO) has had the entire original staff "Managed Out" by a work place bully in less then a year. That is dozens of dedicated and well trained employees that were abused because of one person. THAT is right here in our backyard.


macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2010
Hey Tim, How bout bringing Apple back home to the USA instead of worrying about underage labor and living conditions.
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