Apple taps U.S. university professors to advise Supplier Responsibility program

tim cook foxconn

As part of its never-ending efforts to improve working conditions at overseas plants where its devices are being assembled, Apple has enlisted help of eight professors from top U.S. universities to establish an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program.

The academics will provide guidance and advice to improve working conditions within Apple’s worldwide supply chain and help provide “safe and ethical working conditions wherever its products are made”…

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop passes along a post over at The Watson Institute for International Studies website which states the group led by Brown University Professor and Watson Institute Director Professor Richard Locke has been working together for six months.

Its main objectives are to study and make recommendations to Apple about current policies and practices, conduct or commission new research on labor standards within Apple’s supply chain and share existing research which may help improve those policies and practices.

Apple suppliers world map
Apple’s supply chain visualized on a world map, via ChinaFile.

The advisory board is made up of: Richard Locke (Watson Institute, Brown University), Chair Mark Cullen (Stanford University) Eli Friedman (Cornell University) Mary Gallagher (University of Michigan) Margaret Levi (University of Washington) Dara O’Rourke (University of California, Berkeley) Charles Sabel (Columbia University) Annelee Saxenian (University of California, Berkeley).

Locke hopes that the board will shape the practices of Apple and its suppliers so that the millions of employees involved in Apple’s supply chain work under safe and fair conditions, in which “they are paid living wages, work within the legal work hour regimes, [and] work in environments that are safe and where they can express their rights as citizens.”

Research commissioned by the advisory board will be made public and the results will be published in professional journals. Despite criticism, Tim Cook & Co. are far ahead of the curve in their control of the supply chain, methinks.

Apple has also brought back some manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assembling the upcoming next-gen Mac Pro at its hundred-million-dollar factory in Texas.