In a Bid for Transparency, Apple Unveils Its Latest Secret: Its Suppliers

Apple disclosed a list of its major suppliers for the first time on Jan 13. in an effort to dispel criticism about the working conditions in its supply chain and the company's transparency about them. 

The list, posted on Apple's own Web site, featured 156 companies as well as a major supplier responsibility report—one of the company's largest ever—divulging the results of its recent factory inspections conducted to study labor, discrimination, workers' health and safety and environmental practices.

According to The New York Times, the audits revealed that 93 supplier facilities had records indicating that more than half of their workers exceed a 60-hour weekly working limit. Apple said 108 facilities did not pay proper overtime as required by law. In 15 facilities, Apple found foreign contract workers who had paid excessive recruitment fees to labor agencies.

The report notes that Apple conducted 229 audits throughout its supply chain—an 80% increase over 2010—including more than 100 first-time audits, and that cases of underage labor were down significantly, and that the audits found no underage workers at the company's final assembly suppliers. 
Apple also reported that it recently became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve conditions in factories around the world, reports the Times.

In a world in which nearly every company trails Apple in technological innovation, it's time it started playing catchup with other large corporations in regards to transparency with its suppliers. 

See the finalists in PR News' 2012 CSR Awards and the ten CSR A-List agencies.