Apple is reportedly working with Chinese suppliers who use forced Uyghur labour, according to a report published by The Information on Monday. As a result, Apple CEO Tim Cook is now under the microscope of at least one US lawmaker demanding answers. In July 2020, Cook said that Apple “would not tolerate” any of its suppliers using forced labour.
The Information reportedly worked with two human rights groups to conduct the investigation into the matter of forced labour being used by suppliers in China. It was found that seven Chinese firms – Advanced-Connectek, Luxshare Precision Industry, Shenzhen Deren Electronic Co., AcBel Polytech, Avary Holding, CN Innovations, and Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing Co. – which supply parts and provide services to Apple have been found at fault.
Proper answers are expected from Apple CEO Tim Cook
US representative Ken Buck asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to shed some light on the relationship Apple has with the Chinese companies that have been found to be using forced Uyghur labour. He also asked Cook to provide proper documentation on the internal investigation that was done to check the supply chains in China for forced labour or human right abuses. Buck also asked for “thorough description” of the processes Apple uses to make sure that its suppliers do not exploit workers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has to make a reply by the 15th of June, 2021. US representative Ken Buck has also asked to know how Apple plans to keep workers exploitation practices out of its supply chain. The iPhone has pledged several times to end human rights abuses, poor working and living conditions, forced overtime, and also to end child labour. Apple says it funds audits on a regular basis and has a strict code of conduct.
On a yearly basis, Apple releases a responsibility report outlining the information it could gather from the audits.