The company said the audits included annual reviews of final-assembly manufacturers, first-time audits of component and nonproduction suppliers and 15 repeat audits of facilities at which a core violation had been discovered. “A core violation is the most serious class of violation,” Apple said in the report. “It refers to any practice or situation that we consider to be contrary to the core principles underlying Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct—and to require immediate corrective actions.”
The company said core violations include abuse, underage employment, involuntary labor, falsification of audit materials, threats to worker safety, intimidation or retaliation against workers in the audit and serious threats to the environment. Apple said it requires facilities it has found to have a core violation to address the situation immediately and institute a system that ensures compliance. The facility is also put on probation and later re-audited.
In addition to the underage employment violations, Apple said it found eight cases where excessive recruitment fees were paid, three violations involving hazardous-waste disposal and three involving falsified records. Apple said its audits have resulted in foreign workers being reimbursed $2.2 million in overcharges for recruitment fees.