Gallery: 5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Apple’s New iPad 3

Following continued complaints about environmental and human rights abuses, Apple approached the Fair Labor Association to do an independent audit of their manufacturer's facilities. FLA's team of 30 will interview 35,000 employees. Bloomberg News reported that FLA Chief Executive Officer Auret van Heerden has already found "tons of issues" that need to be addressed, but a fuller report has yet to be issued.

Human Rights Violations

As you might have seen on the news recently, factories linked to Apple like Foxconn in China have been accused of gross human rights violations. Children as young as 15 have been hired to work and many employees have been subjected to forced overtime. Apple employees are not supposed to work more than 60 hours per week, but many plants have ignored these internal regulations.

Foxconn Suicides

Foxconn has become one of the most visible manufacturing plants after 14 employees committed suicide throughout 2010. Four additional employees attempted to kill themselves by jumping off the roof of their facilities. These suicides are thought to have occurred as a result of poor working conditions and low pay, although ABC News and The Economist both reported that the Foxconn suicide rate is lower than the country’s overall suicide rate. However we should point out that some improvement has been made and this plant has since raised its wages by up to 25%.

Supply Chain Pollution

A 46 page report released by the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs claimed that 27 suspected Apple Plants were committing serious environmental crimes. Complaints include evidence of the release of heavy toxic gases; improper disposal of hazardous waste containing copper, nickel and cyanide; factory emissions that far exceed legal limits, and more.

Fair Labor Association

Following continued complaints about environmental and human rights abuses, Apple approached the Fair Labor Association to do an independent audit of their manufacturer’s facilities. FLA’s team of 30 will interview 35,000 employees. Bloomberg News reported that FLA Chief Executive Officer Auret van Heerden has already found “tons of issues” that need to be addressed, but a more complete report has yet to be issued.

Attempts at Sustainability

While Apple’s manufacturing partners have been less than transparent, Apple has taken important strides to improve their environmental record in the United States. We recently reported that the company’s Maiden data center is not only the first LEED Platinum facility of its kind, but it is notable that it boasts a massive solar array that will produce 42 million kWh of clean energy each year. A back up fuel cell (likely provided by Bloom Energy) will produce an additional 5MW annually.

Despite Apple’s efforts at transparency and sustainability, its stocks rose by 24% this year while employees in China continue to endure suspect working conditions. Not until the FLA issues their final audit will it be clear whether or not the iPad3 and all other Apple products are tainted… perhaps it behooves our readers to wait until then?

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  1. webdevii April 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I am the proud owner of the iPad 2, at this point I dont think you could give me an iPad 3. I just totally love it. Especially since I am partially handicapped. It comes in very hand for refilling my medications, keeping track of appointments. and the list goes on. Not to mention the entertainment side of the house. And we all know that i Pad’s dont Phone Home, I use the Magic Jack app which is free and allows me to ride the Verizon 3g network when I am away from my WiFi. I pay the 50GB Plan for $63.73 per month. Thinking about dropping it back to 20GB plan for $19.95 a month which is plenty for me.

    Anyhows that is is for my comment.. Hope this helps any of you iPad 3 wannabees…..

  2. tymo March 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

    In France, 25 employees working for “France Telecom” committed suicide in 2010 due to stress conditions! Just to show you that it doesn’t only apply to working conditions in China. Should start looking around you before blaming others. Am sure that in the US you could certainly find similar cases of workers committing suicide due to tough/stressful working conditions.

  3. warrenrempel March 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    As other commenters have noted, Apple is not the only computer manufacturer who has used these suppliers. However, Apple is the ONLY company that has mad ANY effort to improve the, admittedly unacceptable conditions in which these people work. At least you’re not lying about the situation like some other reporters are:

    Mike Daisey, on his weblog today:

    I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.

    Except the investigations by The Times and labor rights groups haven’t uncovered the sensational things Daisey claims to have found. Worse, Daisey, in his numerous interviews and media appearances, has made these same claims under the pretense that they were factual. Here’s a transcript of his appearance on the Ed Schultz show on MSNBC:

    SCHULTZ: OK. What did you see?

    DAISEY: I saw all the things that everyone has been reporting on. I saw under-age workers. I talked to workers who were 13, 14, 15 years old. I met people whose hands have been destroyed from doing the same motion again and again on the line, carpal tunnel on a scale we can hardly imagine.

    SCHULTZ: Making Apple products?

    DAISEY: Yes. And making products across the electronics industry. **All our electronics are made in this fashion.**

    Where is your reporting on all the other electronic devices, and non-electronic devices that are manufactured in poor conditions in China?

    Or are you just jumping on the ‘bash Apple’ band wagon?

  4. Global Conscience March 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    How do you expect Apple to increase their profit when they cannot exploit the masses.
    I do not wish to speak ioll opf the deceased, but Steven Jobs may have called himself a Budhist, but he clearly wasn’t one. He was a self centred and arragoant menace who should not be lauded or revered but revilled.

  5. swiss1 March 9, 2012 at 3:07 am

    13.1 billion profit in Q1 2012 and they can’t pay decent wages with decent working conditions?

    I am sure they are not the only one’s but as someone said already you need to start with one company then move onto the next and with such large profits, Apple is a good place to start.

  6. johncassel March 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Aloha whiteoakart,
    I asked myself the same question when I heard about actions targeting Apple. Now I understand that by targeting one industry leading manufacturer we can start a change in the entire industry. Getting Apple to be a good employer will set the bar for what other companies need to do to attract buyers who consider the human/ecological impact of their purchases.
    We are changing the world one issue, one company, one person at a time.
    That’s why to focus on getting Apple to clean up worker conditions and the ecological impact of it’s supply chain.
    I want the new iPad. I don’t want to workers, children or our environment hurt in the process.

  7. okt3 March 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I think that even if all the factories have the same problems, some of them like Apple are worst because they lie to people when they sell themselves as green and innovative…

  8. whiteoakart March 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    What’s with the obsession with Apple? All the computer manufacturers use these same factories and conglomerates. While I don’t condone these practices, I can’t understand the single-minded focus on Apple. If US consumers would quit demanding unreasonably cheap appliances, manufacturers could raise their standards. It’s a race to the bottom I’m afraid.

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