We all know that Apple has been the largest technology and electronics company for a number of years, however, now they are using that success to lead the industry towards a new goal. Apple is adamant about cleaning up their supply chain by cracking down on the use of child labor. It was well documented a couple years ago that Apple, among many other electronics companies, were using child labor and sweatshops to cut the costs of their products. In a recent audit of Apple, 106 child labor incidents were reported and it was discovered that 11 of Apple’s factories in its supply chain are still using child labor. Although these numbers are larger than Apple would like, a lot of it is out of the hands of Apple.
One of the major problems that Apple has to deal with is the use of false identification. The factories in the supply chain are giving the children false identification and prohibiting the children from revealing their true ages to anyone. The reason they do this is so that they don’t lose Apple’s business to a cheaper factory. With this being said, Apple is implementing more stringent age verification procedures by requiring more detailed forms of identification. Apple also has a new program where they send any children they find in the factories back to school and pay for their education. Apple is showing that they are determined to eliminate the use of child labor and this could change the whole philosophy of how electronic companies view the use of underage labor.
Being the massive company that it is, Apple is scrutinized in everything it does, as evident in 2010 when the Apple sweatshops were first made public. However, being under that microscope can work in Apples favor also. Many of the other companies in the electronics industry follow the lead of Apple and this situation is no different. If Apple stops using child labor, other companies may follow suit, even if it raises the cost of their products a little bit. Nothing can really sum this up better than the quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Apple has risen to the top of the industry and has all the power in the world, now comes the question of how they will use that power. If they chose to continue down the path of cleaning up their supply chain, they can play a huge role in eliminating the use of child labor.
Here is a behind the scenes look at one of the Apples sweatshops in China: