Advisor Backs Apple Shareholder Proposal vs China Forced Labor
Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) urged Apple Inc. investors to vote for a resolution demanding greater transparency in the iPhone maker's efforts to protect workers in its supply chain from forced labor at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting on March 4.
Photo Insert: A group of shareholders has asked Apple's board to prepare a report on how the company protects supply-chain workers from forced labor.
Apple and independent third parties audited the company's global suppliers in 2020 and found no evidence of forced labor, its latest proxy filing said. Apple also releases reports with information on the protection of its supply-chain workers, Danielle Kaye reported for Reuters.
But independent human rights investigators have reported that some Apple suppliers have participated in the Chinese government's forced labor program in the Xinjiang region, "bringing into question the effectiveness of these policies and procedures," ISS said in a report to investors issued Tuesday.
A group of shareholders has asked Apple's board to prepare a report on how the company protects supply-chain workers from forced labor. The request covers the extent to which Apple has identified suppliers and sub-suppliers that are a risk for forced labor, and how many Apple has taken action against.
"The big picture dream is that Apple puts in place a much more solid set of policies and procedures, eliminating forced labor from its supply chain and living by its code of conduct which says it has zero tolerance for forced labor," said Vicky Wyatt, campaign director for SumOfUs, a group supporting the shareholder proposal.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December declined an effort by Apple to skip the shareholder proposal. That same month, American lawmakers passed a bill banning imports from China's Xinjiang region over forced-labor concerns.