London: Technology giant Apple will now allow independent observers into its suppliers’ factories across the globe to monitor working conditions.
Apple has joined the Fair Labour Association, which was set up in 1999 to monitor global workplace conditions.
The company has become the first technology firm to join the group, The Telegraph reports.
Tim Cook, Apple`s chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal that his company wanted to be more transparent about standards in its supply chain. He said the company was “raising the bar” for the technology industry.
Last week, Apple released its sixth annual supplier responsibility report, which details the results of its audits of factories throughout its supply chain. The company conducted over 200 audits of suppliers last year.
It was for the first time that Apple``s supplier responsibility report listed the firm`s major suppliers, over 156 in all. Apple has typically been secretive about the companies that build its products.
The report also monitors the environmental impact, management systems, ethics and other areas of the suppliers`` business. In cases where a company repeatedly breaches Apple`s guidelines, the company says it terminates the relationship with the supplier.
Like most major technology companies, Apple’s products are manufactured by large suppliers such as Taiwan`s Foxconn.
Foxconn, which employs over a million people and operates enormous factories in China, has been under scrutiny in recent years.
At least 12 Foxconn workers have committed suicide and around 150 workers at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan spent two days on the roof, threatening mass suicide, in a protest over plans to move them to a new production line.