Apple, the world’s most valuable company and hip-technology supplier to the masses, has officially begun an independent monitoring process of the factories where more than 90% of Apple products are made. The decision comes after an outcry of humanitarian concerns from the public over conditions at Apple factories in China – including the infamous Foxconn factories where last year eighteen workers attempted suicide by jumping off the factory roof. Apple has been internally monitoring their production facilities for the past six years but the public made it clear that that was not enough. Apple became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), who began independent assessments of Apple facilities today.

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“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, upon the announcement today. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.” FLA will interview thousands of employees at the factories about working conditions, wages and living areas. They will also do surprise inspections of manufacturing facilities, dormitories and other areas as well as review documents related to all steps of the manufacturing processes.

“We found that Apple takes supplier responsibility seriously and we look forward to their participation in the Fair Labor Association,” said Auret van Heerden, FLA’s President and CEO, when Apple was admitted to the FLA earlier in January. “We welcome Apple’s commitment to greater transparency and independent oversight, and we hope its participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry.” The independent assessments began this morning with inspections of Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen, China known as Foxconn City. Assessments similar to that taking place today will be conducted later in the Spring at the Quanta and Pegatron facilities. After many leaks about child labor in factories and supply chain pollution from Apple factories in China over the past few years, Apple is finally stepping up its game to allow an outside panel asses the true conditions of their manufacturing facilities.

+ Fair Labor Association

+ Apple

Via Engadget