Amidst celebration of a record quarter, during which Apple brought in more than $46 billion in revenue, a stench of worker mistreatment at Foxconn factories in China, where Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad devices are assembled, arose out of the media ether.
“In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history,” reads a recent report from The New York Times.
“However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.”
In the tainted light of this report, Apple CEO Tim Cook has released an email to all Apple employees, in which he attempts to beat back claims that the world’s biggest and richest technology company doesn’t care about the people who build its products.
“As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly,” writes Cook in the email, obtained by 9to5Mac. “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.”
Cook goes on to say that Apple is doing more than any other technology company to ensure that the people who help make Apple possible are treated fairly, and that it does not shy away from discovering new problems in its supply chain, in an effort to improve worker conditions.
“We are attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world’s foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor,” writes Cook. “It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader.”
To further advertise its commitment to worker safety, Apple has launched a “Supplier Responsibility” page on its website, which details the actions it takes towards ensuring good working conditions and environmentally-friendly production practices. Concerned customers can review Apple’s efforts and findings here.