Today, Apple released its 2020 Supplier Responsibility progress report. In it, Senior Vice President of Operations Sabih Khan published a letter that details an outline of the plan it created to increase safety and protection efforts in its supply chain worldwide.
As far as I can tell this is the first time that Khan has written publicly since he was appointed to this role in 2019. The letter walks through some of the efforts Apple has made to ensure, as Khan states, a “right to a safe and healthy workplace” for Apple employees and supply chain members.
As a pole position company that is the premier manufacturer of consumer electronics in the world, Apple’s stances and efforts here are obviously under an incredible microscope. The measures that it takes will serve as a playbook for worldwide manufacturers going forward.
After thanking Apple’s suppliers around the word, Khan says that thousands of its employees worked with suppliers to create a plan to continue business in a fashion that took to account health recommendations in each country as well as the universal rules that govern coronavirus spread mitigation.
A few actions it has taken at its supplier facilities:
- Health screenings
- Limiting density and enforcing strict social distancing
- Requiring the use of PPE both during work and in common areas
- Implementing enhanced deep-cleaning protocols
- Deploying masks and sanitizers to employees
Apple has also redesigned and reconfigured factory floor plans at its suppliers where needed. It has also introduced flexible work hours like staggered work shifts to ensure social distancing measures can be maintained.
In addition to executing protections at its own suppliers, Apple is sharing its plans with NGOs and other organizations to help establish standards across the industry.
“We put people first in everything we do — and require everyone we work with to do the same — because we want to uphold the highest standards,” Khan says in the letter. “Our Supplier Code of Conduct prevents discrimination and harassment of any kind, and supplier employees are provided anonymous channels to speak up. We partner with our suppliers to create educational and training opportunities, including traditional college degree programs, vocational training initiatives, and health and wellness programs so their employees can learn new skills and work toward fulfilling their goals.”
Apple’s supplier report would normally be released in the February-March time frame but it wanted to take some time to plan and execute protection measures first before issuing the report and details of its adjustments due to COVID-19.
“While COVID-19 has been an unprecedented challenge, we’ve also drawn hope and inspiration from humanity’s renewed focus on the health of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors. That consciousness — of our health and the health of others — is something we can always carry with us,” Khan finishes. “Our work to protect people and the planet may never be finished — but we’ve never been more confident that our brightest days are still ahead.”
The supplier report this year is based on interviews of 52,000 workers in its supply chain. It is also auditing suppliers in 49 countries now, up from 30 in 2018 — with a total of 1,142 audits in 2019. Apple’s Zero Waste program was introduced in 2015 in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and waste from its supply chain. This report says that the program is now integrated into final assembly, testing and packaging across all of its major products. Apple diverted 1.3 million metric tons of waste from landfills last year and re-used 40% of water from its manufacturing process — some 9.4 billion gallons…….Read More>>