Ever wonder how your iPhone was made? Then check out Steve Henn’s latest entry on NPR’s “All Tech Considered.” There, you will find a compilation of resources, the most shocking of which is the 2012 Apple Supplier Responsibility Progress Report.
Page 9 of the Progress Report details 17 recorded instances of involuntary labor practices and 5 recorded instances of child labor to which Apple responded at foreign supply factories over the past year. As the Henn blog shows, the findings of the 2012 Report come at a bad time for Apple. Last Wednesday, the New York Times published an article exposing poor working conditions at Apple supply factories in China. The article highlights last May’s explosion at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu, China. Foxconn is a Taiwanese manufacturer of Apple products, and made news in 2010 after the suicide of 14 employees and more recentlywhen 150 employees threatened to commit mass suicide in a similar fashion in protest of working conditions.
For more information about the Apple/ Foxconn relationship, watch the CBS “Sunday Morning” piece (reposted from CNET); Apple? No Thanks! – Deconstructing Foxconn, which includes interviews with investigators from a Hong Kong based workers rights group sent to mainland China after the suicides, and a clip from an interview with Steve Jobs in which he addresses the Foxconn issue.
(p.h. note: We also recommend you check out the This American Life episode featuring a fantastic monologue by Mike Daisey, who travelled to China and saw the making of Apple products firsthand.)
p.h. update March 2012: Some portions of one source of the reports regarding Apple have been retracted, namely the This American Life episode featuring Mike Daisey’s monologue. To read more about the discussion regarding journalism v. theater, read here and for the full transcript of the retraction, click here. We’re following with interest the developments around this story (and that of the Kony 2012 campaign). While we agree there is merit in bringing attention to important issues, even (perhaps especially) highly-nuanced issues, we strongly believe in telling the truth as fully as possible and clearly stating where questions remain.