A supply chain that empowers people and protects the planet.
We hold ourselves and our suppliers to the highest standard when it comes to human rights, environmental protections, and responsible business practices in our supply chain. Together with our partners, we go above and beyond accepted industry practices to improve the lives of our suppliers’ employees while conserving the earth’s resources for generations to come. And we share our vision, processes, and results openly — because we believe transparency keeps us accountable to ourselves and the world, while allowing others to learn and benefit from our experience.
We set a high standard for fair work. Then raise it.
The Apple Supplier Code of Conduct details protections for our suppliers’ employees, including proper living conditions, fair working hours, and workplace safety. Suppliers are required to inform their employees about these protections when they are hired, and employees are guaranteed safe, anonymous channels to voice concerns if they arise. The Code’s policies and standards apply to our partners at all levels, from material sourcing all the way through manufacturing, and are expected to be upheld even when they exceed local, regional, and country laws. In addition to these core protections, we’ve taken further steps, implementing programs designed to educate and provide opportunities for career advancement.
Empowering women through health education.
Beyond ensuring a safe and healthy workplace, we believe that all employees in our supply chain should have the opportunity to learn more about personal wellness and preventive healthcare. In 2017, we introduced a special health program for women with suppliers in India and China. The program focuses on women because they have an outsized impact on their families and communities, and because women are often underserved. In the program, participants learn about nutritional, maternal, and preventive healthcare and are encouraged to share what they learn with their coworkers, families, and friends.
Our goal is to bring health awareness programming to 1 million people at Apple suppliers around the world by 2020, and for them to extend health awareness to others through their community interactions.
The opportunities of tomorrow start with training today.
Together with our partners, we’re doing more than providing the people in our supply chain a fair workplace. Since 2008, Apple has created education programs dedicated to advancing the careers of our suppliers’ employees. The SEED (Supplier Employee Education and Development) program helps current employees study fields in which they’re most interested. Since its inception, 2.5 million people have participated and more than 12,000 have enrolled for a degree. We also created the Factory Line Leader Program with a leading university in China. It provides vocational training — the technical and soft skills necessary to become qualified line leaders — to students who might otherwise be limited to entry-level positions. Graduates are guaranteed an internship with an Apple supplier and full-time employment opportunities.
Digging deep to ensure that materials are responsibly sourced.
We’re proud to be recognized as a worldwide leader in the responsible sourcing of minerals in our products. In 2010, we were the first company to map our supply chain from manufacturing to the smelter level for tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (3TG). We were also the first company to publish a list of the smelters in our supply chain. In 2014, we started mapping for cobalt and completed that mapping in 2016. In 2017, for the second year in a row, 100 percent of our identified 3TG and cobalt smelters participated in a third-party assessment program. We do this to make sure minerals in our products are responsibly sourced following standards set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and other internationally recognized human rights instruments. Our efforts consider conflict, human rights, and other risks as we go above and beyond what’s required by law.
Mapping materials from final assembly back to the source.
Few companies map the path of materials in their products as far back as the smelter. Apple maps many materials, including conflict minerals, back to the smelter and goes even further with others — tracking some, like cobalt, all the way back to the source.
Going further to fight bonded labor.
Bonded labor occurs when a person is forced to work in exchange for the repayment of a debt or other obligation — sometimes levied as a fee for receiving a job in the first place. In 2008, we made this a Core Violation of the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct and limited permissible fees to one month’s wages. In 2015, Apple went even further — leading the way by mandating that no fees can be charged to supplier employees for recruitment opportunities, even if those fees fall within the legal limits of the supplier’s operating country. If bonded labor is discovered, the supplier is required to repay the recruitment fees in full to all affected employees. We ensure safe channels for employees and suppliers to communicate concerns, and we continue to be recognized as a leader among all industries in efforts to eliminate this vicious practice.
If bonded labor is uncovered, immediate action is taken:
When we waste nothing, that will truly be something.
By diverting manufacturing waste from landfills, we are reducing impacts on the environment and safeguarding the communities where our products are made. Our Zero Waste Program is a partnership with suppliers who join us in protecting the environment. To achieve a Zero Waste to Landfill certification through Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a factory must divert 100 percent of its waste from landfills, with a maximum of 10 percent being sent to waste-to-energy facilities. In 2017, 100 percent of our final assembly facilities for iPhone were zero waste certified. To help all of our suppliers achieve this objective, we offer tools and guidance, including the services of leading experts in sustainable waste management solutions.
Moving toward our goal of zero waste.
Reducing waste means reimagining traditional manufacturing processes. One way we do this is by helping suppliers pivot away from virgin material and toward reused and recycled materials. In fact, one of our manufacturers is now implementing an innovative process that recycles part of the film that protects iPhone screens as they are made. Previously that material went to landfills. Now it is recycled to make the trays that transport products later in their production. This reduces waste, transportation costs, and our carbon footprint. And every year it will divert approximately 200 metric tons of garbage from landfills.
Turning the film that protects iPhone screens into trays.
The magic of making more with less.
Constantly finding new ways to conserve natural resources and use less energy is a crucial part of our manufacturing process. We’re partnering with suppliers to generate and procure more than 4 gigawatts of new clean power worldwide by 2020 to reduce emissions from manufacturing. In 2018, all of our suppliers are required to set carbon reduction goals. We also created a Clean Water Program that encourages factories to find ways to conserve fresh water and reuse wastewater. As a result, participating factories in China have achieved an average reuse rate of 37 percent, exceeding the industry average of 30 percent.
In 2017, energy conservation efforts in our supply chain reduced annualized carbon emission by 320,000 metric tons. That’s like taking every car in Hong Kong off the road for 62 days.
Our efforts are just the beginning.
Together with our suppliers, we made a great deal of progress in 2017. As we drive deeper into our supply chain to assess where improvements can be made and harness the power of innovation to apply new tools and processes, we know we will be able to do even more for people and for the planet. Every year, our work affects a growing number of suppliers and employees across the globe — and we believe our work is having a positive effect on the industry as a whole.
More sites assessed, more top performers.
Every year, Apple assesses more partners in our supply chain. In 2017, we evaluated 756 supplier sites in 30 countries. Each site is ranked low-, medium-, or high-performing against the industry’s most rigorous set of standards. We work closely with low performers to accelerate development of their capabilities, but if a supplier is unwilling or unable to meet our standards, we remove them from our supply chain. Thanks to the combined efforts of Apple and our partners, we saw a 71 percent decrease in the number of low performers, and a 35 percent increase in the number of high performers.
Manufacturing, contact center, and retail site assessments
Smelter- and mine-level assessments
In 2017, assessments were conducted at 756 manufacturing, contact center, and retail sites. An additional 256 assessments occurred at smelter- and mine-level sites.