Once Again, We Question the Reliability of Apple’s Social Responsibility Report

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Read this report in Chinese

On March 30th, China Labor Watch (CLW) released a statement regarding Apple’s social responsibility report, casting doubt on its reliability. One of our concerns was that Apple had not explicated as to how its workweek compliance rate was calculated. Today, we revisited their website, and discovered that Apple had revised its report slightly regarding the calculation of the compliance rate. This revision was made secretly, without informing us or the public.

This revision further confirms our suspicions that Apple’s data might be falsified. Apple added one paragraph in its report and vaguely explained its method for calculating the workweek compliance rate:

We gauge our process by tracking real time working hours weekly for over 1.3 million workers in our supply chain, publishing the data every month. As a result of this report, in 2015 our suppliers achieved an average of 97 percent compliance across all work weeks, and the average hours worked per week was under 48 for all workers, and 55 hours on average for those who worked at least 40 hours per week.”(Apple; Supplier Responsibilit-2016 Progress Report; page 28. Accessed on April 12th, 2016)

This paragraph still has not clarified the method of calculation used, but we can understand it as this: the compliance rate was calculated through tracking each of the 1.3 million workers in Apple’s supply chain, and among the 1.3 million workers, 97% of them had workweeks below 60 hours. In addition, from its more detailed graph regarding the workweek compliance rate for each month, we discovered that October’s compliance rate was very high, ranked 4th or 5th out of 12 months. Thus, we would expect it to be above or close to 97%. (See the graph below) However, according to our study of 1,261 Pegatron paystubs, 71.1% of workers’ average workweeks exceeded 60 hours per week. Applying this compliance rate to Pegatron Shanghai—which employs about 70,000 workers—would mean that 50,000, or 3.8% of the 1.3 million workers in Apple’s Supply Chain, had workweeks exceeding Apple’s standard. If we further assume that only Pegatron Shanghai had violated Apple’s 60-hour standard, and all the other 200 or more suppliers are compliant with this standard, its overall compliance rate still cannot reach 97%. It goes without saying that it is virtually impossible that 100% of other suppliers could meet Apple’s standard, with Pegatron being the only exception.


We demand that Apple be transparent about its audit data and standards:

1) Apple should explicitly explain to the public how the 97% compliance rate was calculated

2) Release Pegatron Shanghai’s data to the public and allow us to compare this with CLW’s data

(Source: Apple; Supplier Responsibilit-2016 Progress Report)