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In a smart move by Apple, the company has released details of an audit done on an iPod factory in China. The audit came in response to accusations of "sweatshop" conditions by the Mail on Sunday.

According to the audit the supplier was “in compliance in the majority of the areas audited. However, we did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address.” What follows in the report is a breakdown of the audit methodology and selected results.

This is excellent work on the PR front. Apple’s apparent transparency on this issue shows a good balance of humility (admitting there are things to do better) and strength (stating high levels of satisfaction) in response to the accusations.

Sure, I'd love to go all hippy and say, "This deserves only a satisfied nod that they're doing it the right way. One shouldn't praise a company for behaving decently."

Unfortunately, it's a corporate reality that an issue such as this can be ignored entirely or brushed under the carpet. Apple acting responsibly does deserve praise - in the hope that we (cue hippy speak) see a day where corporate social responsibility is a no-brainer.

One of our topics areas from our What’s New in Online Marketing 2006 event was blogging and online PR – the focus of which was reputation management through prompt action/response and accountability.

So well done on both, Apple.

Jos Merideth

Published 18 August, 2006 by Jos Merideth

5 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Michael Baun, Baun Technical Services

Based on statements at Apple: Apple is either professionally incompetent or is unconcerned about worker abuse.

To express shock, by Apple, about the working conditions in China is not surprising since it is a standard PR Tactic. To appear to do something about the problem, while not affecting the bottom line, is also standard procedure.

The bottom line is that Apple Computer knows:

1) The human resources required to assemble an iPOD.
2) The human resources supplied to meet Apple's labor demands.
3) The demand placed on these resources by orders.

The idea that Apple was shocked by the conditions at these plants infers merely the idea that Apple computer executives, at a high level, either can not perform simple multiplication and division, (Units Requested to be Assembled over a period of time * Resources Required for Assembly)/Total Resources Available, or engage in contract labor without concern. Take your choice, professionally incompetent or unconcerned.

The unconcerned part seems to be definitely indicated by overtime limitations being removed when lack of production would cost Apple. And I might add lack of production because of incompetent planning.

It is also reinforced by the idea that Apple would threaten to remove said contract, knowing the game here is nothing short of a strategy that encourages human rights abuses in a vicious cycle of cover-up and survival.

It is also possible that Apple has a production incentive program. That if the company is able to provide more then a certain baseline quantity they get a higher per piece price. If this is the case Apple is responsible for the problem in a very direct way. I would like to see them either confirm or deny this claim, together with their claim their global mangers with MBA degrees can not add, subtract, multiply or divide. I wonder what school they graduated from. Perhaps it was Harvard, they are well known for producing inferior graduates like this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

The fix would be simple, not require of an outsourced vendor more then they can supply while maintaining workforce standards.

Apple's responses have indicated that they just do not get it - it is business as usual for them. In all fairness, if you are concerned about human rights and exploitation, just buy someone else’s MP3 player, made at the same plant. When confronted about the situation their MBA’s porbably will suddenly be unable to do simple math.

Perhaps Apple should have just said, we don't care that is the vendor's problem. I think that would have been a more honest approach.

almost 10 years ago

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mayank gahlot

i have a china ipod when i on it than show in lcd tha softer is not supoorted  so solve this problam

about 7 years ago

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