It’s not enough to set high standards. We must work every day to make sure they’re upheld.

An Apple auditor, supported by local third-party auditors, visits a factory in Suzhou, China.

Our Supplier Code of Conduct is among the toughest in the industry. To track working conditions at suppliers’ facilities, we conduct regular, in-person audits deep into the supply chain. Audits remain essential to our work, but they’re only the beginning.

Accountability Highlights from Our 2015 Report

In 2014 we performed 633 audits covering over 1.6 million workers.

In 2014 we audited suppliers in 19 countries.

In 2014 calls were made to 30,000 workers to make sure their rights were being upheld.

An Apple employee discusses posted labour regulations with a team of third-party auditors at a factory in Jundiaí, Brazil.

Working onsite with suppliers.

To make impactful changes across our supply chain, it’s important to understand firsthand what’s happening inside our suppliers’ facilities. That’s why we don’t simply employ and review audits from behind our desks in Cupertino. Instead, we directly gauge how our supplier facilities are doing by regularly visiting and partnering with our suppliers around the world. And when we discover a problem, we work together to get it fixed.

Apple Audits Since 2007


Our audits at a glance.

Step 1.

Preparation. Every new factory must follow our Code and Standards and agree to be audited. Audits are prioritised based on geographic risk, previous audit performance, commodity risks and planned spending, as well as concerns brought to us by internal teams, external stakeholders, nongovernment organisations and others.

Step 2.

Onsite Audit. Every onsite audit is led by Apple auditors and supported by local third-party auditors and experts who have been trained on Apple auditing protocols. Together we review hundreds of payroll documents, interview workers, physically assess the health and safety conditions of the facilities, and inspect the environmental conditions inside and outside the factory walls.

Step 3.

Corrective Action. Suppliers are required to remediate all violations. Every supplier must submit a Corrective Action Plan within two weeks of the audit, outlining a corrective course of action. Severe violations negatively affect the suppliers’ business relationship with Apple, including possible termination.

Step 4.

Monitor. A team of verification specialists works with suppliers, checking in at 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals, to make sure they’re on track. Any delayed progress is escalated to senior management.

Step 5.

Verify Remediation. We hire a third-party auditor to visit the facility at the 120-day mark to independently confirm that everything was resolved to our standards. If not, a second verification is scheduled within 30 days.

What happens after an audit interview?

Apple conducts physical inspections, reviews documents and interviews workers in their native languages without their managers present. Afterward, workers are given a phone number, so they have the opportunity to securely and confidentially provide additional feedback about a facility to our team, including anything they consider to be unethical behaviour. We encourage workers to report any retaliation to us, and we follow up with all suppliers to address each reported issue. So do our third-party partners. They made more than 30,000 phone calls in 2014 to make sure no negative consequences resulted from a worker speaking up.