Challenges in the Global Business Environment

Apple Company is one of the leading companies in the world that took over the worldwide market share in technology industry since its inception. Apple is not only devising, developing and selling advanced gadgets like software, computers, personal computers and consumer electronics, but it also offers large-scale online services. Apple has long been recognized for masterpiece gadgets like the iOS, iPhone, iPad and Mac personal computers. The company is dedicated to the utmost values of environmental and social responsibility and moral conduct (“Driving Change,” 2008). The suppliers of Apple are required to offer safe working conditions and respectful treatment of employees. The suppliers are also required to perform ethically and fairly, and to utilize environmentally friendly practices in instances when they create products or carry out services for the company. Apple Company demands its suppliers to act in accordance with the standards stated in the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct and in complete conformity with all pertinent regulations and laws.

The following are the changes that Apple Inc. is continuously creating in order to achieve a better management:

Labor and Human Rights

Apple considers that all the employees in the supply chain warrant an ethical and fair workplace. The most susceptible part that the company puts a lot of attention on is Labor and Human Rights that should be sustained in their workplace (Morrison, 2011). Suppliers, who wish to work with Apple, are supposed to have incredibly high standards of safeguarding of workers’ rights in the workplace. Such an intention is represented by the latest investment of nearly 3.9 million US dollars that was exceptionally paid to the labor brokers of more than 4, 000 foreign contract employees with the help of the company (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015). The 60-hour working week is an additional execution that depicts loyalty of the company towards employee rights. A program of educating employees on their human and employment rights has been in existence from the year 2007. This program builds understanding of the suppliers and workers concerning their legal rights. In 2014, the number of workers under this program amounted to more than 2 million resulting in more than 6 million successfully empowered workers under the company’s management (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015).

 

Prevention of Involuntary Labor and Human Trafficking

Suppliers must make sure that the work is done deliberately. The suppliers are also informed that they must not involve in human trafficking and employment of any kind of slaves, prisoners, or forced labor. The suppliers are also required not to involve in harboring, moving, recruitment, employment, or receipt of individuals through abduction, coercion, fraud, threat, or payments to any person possessing influence over the other with the intention of mistreatment. The supplier must not deny employee’s original government issued travel documents and IDs in any case. They should make sure that the employee’s contract clearly states the conditions of employment and that the person can read and understand the language of the contract. The suppliers should also not enforce any unfair limitations on movement of workers within the workplace or while entering or exiting the facilities offered by the company (Morrison, 2011).

The supplier must make sure that the third-party recruitment bureaus it cooperates with are acquiescent with the stipulations of this Code as well as the law. The suppliers that recruit foreign contract employees either directly or by the means of the third party bureaus must be liable for the payment of all related expenses and fees. In accordance with the code, it is a necessity that the supplier remains highly strict to the labor and human rights principles laid down by the company (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015). Once there is the execution of the employee empowerment strategy through education, the company stresses that the suppliers enforce student employee safeguarding regulations in their workplaces. Moreover, they should make sure that there is a structured management in place for the employees who are under the educational programs. Loyalty to the 60-hour working week is a necessity in order to guarantee security within the company. 

The suppliers are required to reimburse properly any overtime work beyond the regular 48-hour working week that must be willingly carried out by the worker.  In 2006, the British and the Chinese journalists published the proof of the labor rights exploitations at the supplier factories in China. Since that time, the company has come up with the idea of yearly reports on environmental and working conditions in its supply chain. The reports represent the outcomes of supplier audits undertaken by the company.

Health and Safety

Employee safety, health, and well-being are essential to the company. The supplier must provide and preserve a safe working environment and incorporate sound health and safety conditions into the business. Employees should have the right to deny insecure working environment and report detrimental working conditions (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015).

Living and Working Conditions

Suppliers must provide employees with easily reachable clean toilet facilities and clean water. Food preparation rooms, storage facilities, as well as the provided dining places must be hygienic. Employee dormitories offered by the supplier or a third party shall be sanitary and safe; dormitories should also offer sound living space. Suppliers are obligated to demonstrate the proof of facility safety and the incorporation of global health values into the company's code of conduct prior to obtaining a contract with Apple. Well skilled management and workforce represent a fundamental importance to this business conduct (Morrison, 2011). Apple Inc. established a mapping program in line with this strategy that is intended to fasten the course of action of chemical management through the supply chain. 

According to the executed mapping program that is required to secure chemical management procedures through the supply chain, the suppliers are supposed to abide by the Apple Regulated Substances in instances where they manufacture Apple products (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015). The techniques of reliable utilization of the chemically unsafe substances are believed to be extremely systematic in classification and management. The Environmental Health and Safety Academy increased the number of participants to over 800 in 2014. Such an increase in participation rates is attributed to the fact that they struggled to advance the workplace environmental conditions for Apple Supplier workers as well as 156 suppliers and 392 workers (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015).

Environment 

Apple Company is dedicated to safeguarding the environment, and the environmental accountability is at the center of the business conduct of the company (Morrison, 2011). The supplier should build, execute, and preserve environmentally accountable business practices. The company has strived to ensure environmental and ethical duty in their international supply chain. The atmosphere of dignity exercised by every worker and the atmosphere of respect among employees contributed to the Apple best rating among worker-friendly companies. On the way to attain this position, the company put a lot of priority on environmental awareness and worker empowerment programs; Apple also made sure that steady changes are instituted to their code of conduct in order to follow the objectives (Oehmen, De Nardo, Schönsleben, & Boutellier, 2010). 

Supplier responsibility, service improvement and steady auditing are among the core goals of the company. The key objective is to attain the excellent ethical working conditions. According to the Apple Progress Report of 2015, the last audit that was carried out in 2014 revealed an increase in audit performance attributed to the raise of more than 39 percent in person audits in 19 nations (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015). The company lays down high principles in the business conduct and performs periodic audits of its suppliers in order to guarantee conformity to the core principles.

Air Emissions Management

The supplier is entitled to discover, manage, diminish and responsibly control production-related air emissions that cause danger to the environment. Suppliers must carry out regular inspections of the performance of the air emission management systems. Loyalty to the set of environmental principles is also an obligation of an Apple supplier. The company has endorsed clean water project that lays down policies related to company's water efficacy; Apple also aims at educating the supply chain managers on the control of air pollution (“Driving Change,” 2008). The company has lately demanded further advancement of supplier’s waste management system. Apple also published a statistical report informing about more than 500 million saved gallons of water in the past year; the report also informed about the increase of the number of suppliers, who utilize environmentally friendly mineral procedures, to 155 suppliers as measured in their last audit and in the IPE database listing. Supplier simplicity is of greatest importance to the company. The company has launched a system of market rankings of transparent actions; the company has also done their best to maintain this rank in the worldwide market (Morrison, 2011).

Managers are supposed to go through the appropriate training program in order to gain knowledge about environmental pollution. The suppliers are supposed to make sure that their management is educated about the environmental pollution. Moreover, they should check is their employees went through one (or more) of the 19 crucial courses in the 18-month program offered in the EHS Academy in order to guarantee management loyalty to their work and worker environmental ethics (Oehmen et al., 2010). Suppliers are mandated to save more than 50 percent of the water reservation target established by the company to guarantee environmental policy loyalty. In such a way, the suppliers are motivated to reduce the waste of water in their manufacturing procedures. The suppliers are also supposed to carry out regular audit and provide a detailed report on the performance of the system aimed at reduction of waste of water (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015).

Ethics

The Company incorporates the utmost principles of moral conduct in all of its accomplishments. The supplier must be moral in every area of the business, including operations, practices, sourcing and relationships. The company decided to safeguard crucial documentation. What is important, some extent of conditionality between the supplier and the company should exist in order for them to reveal information to one another. Any instances of criticism must be taken into consideration and resolved immediately.

Business Integrity

The supplier should not take part in any type of unethical management in order to acquire an unjust or illegal gain. The suppliers should abide by all the pertinent anti-corruption regulations and laws of the nations where it undertakes its business activities, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and relevant global anti-corruption principles (Morrison, 2011). For example, in 2013, Apple Company decided to stop business relations with one supplier after the revelation of the fact that the supplier was involved in unethical actions of employing underage workers. In order to ensure better transparency, the company posted information concerning the supplier responsibility, including the fact that the company holds itself and its supplier responsible for any unethical actions undertaken.

Management Commitment

The company considers that safe management system and loyalty are significant to the environmental and social interests of its supply chain. Therefore, Apple holds its suppliers liable for the compliance to this code of conduct and all incorporated values (“Supplier Responsibility,” 2015). The supplier must execute and preserve a management system that enhances conformity with the code.  The law incorporated in the code of conduct recognizes and alleviates operation-related hazards and enables steady improvement of ethical business operations.

Management Accountability and Responsibility

The supplier is entitled to establish a legislative body within the company liable for ensuring execution and periodic appraisal of the management systems. Therefore, the supplier must have an environment sustainability agent or a corporate social responsibility representative that reports directly to the top management. The representative should also possess the accountability and control to manage social and environmental obligations of the business. Several changes happened to the employee empowerment that has been in the focus recently. In fact, the utilization of employee education opportunities have been offered by the company through the supply chain. The Supplier Employee Educational and Development (SEED) program has enabled more than 800 thousand workers participate in educational programs with innovative techniques. This progress enables the employees to obtain better career chances after the finishing of the relevant courses (Oehmen et al., 2010).

Conclusion

The amendments are continuously created to provide super-quality output from the company workers and suppliers as they abide by tough regulations and rules set by the Company’s Code of Conduct created to make sure that the suppliers uphold an ethical working relationship contract with the company. The code goes beyond the plain conformity with the law by incorporating worldwide known principles of environmental and social accountability. Whenever the differences occur between the code principles and the legal necessities, the stricter principle should apply in conformity with the appropriate law. This code delineates Apple requirements for the supplier business conduct in relationship to labor and human rights, ethics, health and safety, management, and environmental protection practices. Therefore, the company should evaluate the level of conformity with this code exercised by its suppliers. In fact, any breach of the code may endanger the supplier’s business relationship with the company with the possibility of termination. This code of conduct is applicable to the company’s suppliers, including their subcontractors, subsidiaries and affiliates offering services and goods to the company. In addition, Apple upholds detailed principles that clearly define its prospects for conformity with this code.

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May 14, 2019 in Research
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