Apple Inc. released its "Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report," which prompted a response from Greenpeace.

According to the iPhone company, Apple believes in "making complex things simple" while ensuring each work around the globe has the right to "safe and ethical working conditions." Apple has audited its supply chain and has even held manufacturers accountable to some of the industry's "strictest" standards.

"In fact, we care as much about how our products are made as we do about how they're designed," noted Apple in its eighth annual Supplier Responsibility report.

"Our Supplier Code of Conduct was already one of the toughest in the electronics industry, and we made it even stronger," the iPad company added. "We enforced our Code through 451 audits at multiple levels of our supply chain, and our suppliers trained 1.5 million workers on their rights. We drove our suppliers to achieve an average of 95 percent compliance with our maximum 60-hour work week."

Apple noted it has expanded education programs within 18 of its factories during 2013, which is twice as many seen in 2012, for more than 280,000 workers. The education programs ranged from accounting, English, flower arranging, and web design, to name a few.

Apple also addressed concerns in China. The Cupertino-based company launched the Apple Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Academy, which is a formal 18-month program including training and education on EHS. Apple revealed over 240 personnel from numerous Chinese factories enrolled in the program.

The topic of exploitation was also focused. The report disclosed a study assessing over 12,000 student interns from more than 130 vocational schools "kicked off" with the aim to improve accountability for the schools as well as raise the quality of education and on-the-job training within the supplier facilities.

"Apple is deeply committed to expanding opportunities for the people who make our products and ensuring these workers are treated with respect and dignity," noted the annual report. "We will continue to work closely with our suppliers and stakeholders to provide fair and safe workplaces and protect the environment wherever Apple products are manufactured."

As a result of Apple's latest report, Greenpeace's Energy Campaigner Tom Dowdall released a statement.

"Apple's increased transparency about its suppliers is becoming a hallmark of Tim Cook's leadership at the company," said Dowdall. "Apple has flexed its muscles in the past to push suppliers to remove hazardous substances from products and provide more renewable energy for data centers, and it is proving the same model can work to reduce the use of conflict minerals."

The Greenpeace energy campaigner also named Apple's rivals to shadow the iPhone company's efforts.

"Samsung and other consumer electronics companies should follow Apple's example and map its suppliers, so the industry can exert its collective influence to build devices that are better for people and the planet," added Dowdall.

For more on the 40-page "Supplier Responsibility" report, click here.


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