Apple has been awarded the Stop Slavery Award for its efforts to improve working conditions and human rights in every stage of its supply and production network.
The award was accepted in London by Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s SVP of Retail: “Just like we have an environmental responsibility, a supplier responsibility, we also believe we have a human responsibility to keep doing what we can.” In practical terms, that translates to detailed auditing programs aimed at improving conditions for overseas workers. This includes limitations on working hours, responsible sourcing of materials, and ditching suppliers who don’t treat their employees well enough.
To coincide with the award, Apple has formally announced a program to employ human trafficking victims in behind-the-scenes roles for the company. “Though we have only just started, we see huge opportunity to be a beacon of hope for trafficking survivors integrating them into our retail team,” explained Ahrendts.
We reported earlier this year on Apple’s supplier responsibility report, in which it revealed that – amidst a slightly worrying backdrop of suppliers ignoring its employee conduct rules – the company still managed to significantly improve conditions for overseas workers, while training more than 3 million employees on their rights.
It’s not all rosy, but the report showed a company moving in the right direction and showing a great deal more transparency than most about its efforts to improve the ethics of the entire supply chain.