Apple is partnering with labor unions and education experts in a $50 million initiative to support workers across its supply chain.
The iPhone maker’s Supplier Employee Development Fund will go toward career skills, education initiatives and workplace rights, Apple said in a press release on Wednesday (March 30).
As part of the commitment, Apple is supporting the programs created by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“At IOM, we understand that supply chain responsibility is complex and must be driven by innovation, results, and partnerships,” Amy Pope, IOM’s deputy director general for management and reform, said in the release. “Improving people’s lives must be at its core.
“The IOM and Apple partnership has proven results in Apple’s own supply chain and paves the way for others in the industry to follow. To effect real change, we need global collaboration that engages workers, NGOs, government, and industry. Apple’s new commitments will have tangible, meaningful benefits for workers around the world.”
Apple also released its 16th annual People and Environment in Our Supply Chain report, which focuses on the company’s environmental initiatives, health and safety measures and forced-labor prevention strategy.
“We put people first in everything that we do, and we’re proud to announce a new commitment to accelerate our progress and provide even more opportunities for people across our supply chain,” said Sarah Chandler, Apple’s senior director of environment and supply chain innovation. “Together with rights advocates and education leaders, we are continuing to drive new innovation to support people and the planet.”
While Apple has offered in-person and virtual education, skill-building and enrichment courses since 2008, the Supplier Employee Development Fund expands its offerings to benefit supply chain workers worldwide, per the release. Initial courses will be available in the U.S., China, India and Vietnam.
By 2023, Apple expects more than 100,000 supplier employees to participate in new learning opportunities.
According to the report, Apple found 11 violations of its Supplier Code of Conduct in 2021, up from 10 violations the previous year. This included nine instances of suppliers falsifying records to cover up violations of working-hours limits, plus two instances of facilities requiring foreign contract workers to pay recruitment fees.