Like Nike in the 90s, Apple has started copping serious flak about human rights abuses in its offshore production plants, with the New York Times publishing a lengthy article detailing safety problems, excessive overtime, and other violations.
Apple pre-empted the report a few weeks ago when it released its Supplier Code of Conduct and 2012 Progress Report, and CEO Tim Cook has now followed this up with a lengthy letter to employees addressing the criticisms directly.
"We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain,” Cook writes.
"Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.”
Cook goes on to outline Apple’s efforts to raise standards in its factories, adding that the company recently became the first tech firm to join the Fair Labour Association.
"We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do – and never have done – is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word.”
Apple reported record profits for the October-December quarter last week, including almost US$100 billion in cash reserves.
Tim Cook’s full letter is published by 9to5Mac here; have a read and post your comments below – with all that cash, do you think Apple could be doing more for its overseas workers?