Apple’s ops-chief emails troops on supplier responsibility

jeff williams

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Jeff Williams, has issued an internal memo to Apple employees following the company’s newly published 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report. Williams was promoted to the position as Tim Cook’s long-time right hand man. Before being named CEO, Tim Cook used to run Apple’s vast network of suppliers and manufacturer for years.

This is the first time Williams penned an internal memo to troops regarding Apple’s environmental strides. The full contents of the memo can be read after the break…

9to5Mac got hold of the memo:

Expanding opportunities for workers in our supply chain

More than a million people across the globe play an integral role in the making of our products, from the smallest part manufacturer to the final assembly facility.

We believe each of those workers has the right to safe working conditions and to be treated with dignity, so we audit deep into our supply chain and hold our suppliers accountable to some of the industry’s strictest standards.

Today we’re releasing our eighth annual Supplier Responsibility report, and we are tremendously proud of the progress we made in 2013. We encourage you to read it on our new SR website. Here are some highlights you’ll find there:

We audited 451 factories at multiple levels of our supply chain, and our suppliers trained 1.5 million workers on their rights. Our suppliers achieved an average of 95 percent compliance with our max 60-hour work week.

Eighteen factories now offer our free education and development program for workers — twice as many as in 2012 — and in 2013 over 280,000 workers took courses to gain new skills.

In January 2014, we confirmed that all active, identified tantalum smelters in Apple’s supply chain were validated as conflict-free by third-party auditors, and we will continue to require all suppliers to use only verified tantalum sources. In addition, we are aggressively pursuing a critical mass of verified smelters for tin, tantalum and gold. And to drive accountability, we are now publishing a quarterly list of the names, countries, and participation status of the smelters and refiners in our supply chain.

We launched the Apple Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety Academy, an 18-month curriculum aimed at raising the level of EHS expertise in our supply chain. In 2013, over 240 factory personnel — representing more than 270,000 workers — enrolled in this program.

Respect for the people who make our products is a value that Apple holds dear. Check out the website, and if you’re interested in learning how you can contribute or you want to contact the SR team with additional questions, visit [redacted]

Jeff Williams

Apple’s 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report is available on the company’s website.

Among other things, the report says that all active, identified tantalum smelters in Apple’s supply chain were validated as conflict-free by third-party auditors, meaning all of Apple’s suppliers are now using only verified tantalum sources.

Other highlights from the report: the company is tracking the weekly hours for over a million of its supply chain workers, with 95 percent of the suppliers now in compliance of Apple’s standard maximum 60-hour workweek.

Williams also sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss the report and he said Apple and other consumer electronics firms are the biggest users of the metal.