Challenges in the global business environment

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Challengesin the global business environment

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Challengesin the global business environment

Withinthe electronic industry, Apple is one of the companies with thestrictest supplier’s code of conduct. Its code of conduct requiresthat all dealers ensure a conducive working environment for theiremployees, treat them with respect and dignity they deserve, engagein environmentally responsible strategies as they manufacture theproducts or provide services and above all ensure ethical behavior intheir entrepreneurial operations. Apple has documented variousexpectations for its suppliers on matters relating to human rights,health and safety, ethical behavior, management practices andenvironmental protection among others. However, from time to time thecompany have had a rough time dealing with suppliers who in one wayor another violate the laid down codes of conduct. In that case,Apple has been able to make specific changes in its expectations forsuppliers’ conduct which ensure that the rules of operation areeven tighter (Apple 2015).

Inthe past, Apple required all vendors who source employees from othernations through agencies, to be responsible for all fees associatedwith the recruitment processes. Nonetheless, the company hasexperienced some instances of forced labor and immoral hiringpractices. In some cases where the suppliers rely on third- partyrecruiters to source workers from countries where labor is plentiful,they fail to take care of the charges involved and the burden hasalways been left to the employees. In the instances where theagencies charge excess fees, the total costs have always amounted tomany months of unpaid labor. This has always resulted to bondedlabor. To exterminate this kind of debt-bonded labor, Apple requiredthat all suppliers compensate the excess fees to foreign contractworkers. However, after some rigorous auditing processes the companyrealized that some of its suppliers still made employees take care oftheir recruitment charges. In 2015, the company informed theirsuppliers that Apple no longer charges any recruitment fees toforeign contract employees who work in their production line. Thisreduced the allowable charges from an equivalent of one month’swage to zero (Apple 2015).

Workerhealth and safety has always been prioritized at Apple Company. Thecorporation has been able to make changes on its expectations forsupplier conducts within emergency protection, preparedness andresponse. In the past, their standards required all vendors to equiptheir businesses with emergency exit signs. However, in 2015 thecompany upgraded this requirement and outlined that all fire escapesigns to be lightened wit battery back-ups. An additional requirementwas that emergency drills to be conducted in both day and nightshifts. Even though the local laws require a company carry outemergency drills once per year, the Apple Company has ordered itssuppliers to conduct them twice per annum.

Inline with the vendors’ code of behavior that require the provisionof proper sanitation, clean water, and better storage facilities, thelocal laws do not push for installation of smoke detectors. However,to ensure health and safety of their employees, the Apple Company hasupdated their requirements and need all suppliers to fit smokedetectors within their employees’ residential areas.

Onsimilar lines, the company requires its dealers to disclose allinformation regarding their business operations truthfully. Thecompany has placed more strict punishments on suppliers who may befound abusing this rule by putting them on probation or having theirlicenses of activities taken away from them. According to Apple’sprogress report 2015, the company has terminated its relationshipwith about eighteen suppliers for providing them with falseinformation that does not accurately reflect their level of businessactivity.

Applecommands a high market share within the electronic equipment industryand has been able to remain competitive. Its ability to evolve withtime and move with the technological advancement has always kept itabreast of other corporations within this industry. However, theseare not the only attributes that make Apple a great company. Itsstrong stand and opinions on matters relating to empowering workers,labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment andaccountability have always given it an upper hand.

Empoweringworkers

Appleis dedicated to preparing its people for the workplace as well asbeyond. The company believes in equipping its employees through theprovision of training programs that promote both personal andprofessional development. According to the management of this firm,education is deemed as the first step towards change. The corporationhas been able to offer successfully educational programs that equipworkers with the necessary tools and experience required for them toadvance within the company or change entirely to new fields. Thecompany’s 2015 progress report states that the corporation has beenable to train about 9.25 million workers since 2008.

Thecompany also believes in empowering workers through encouraging themto participate in employees’ rights training sessions. Sensitizingemployees of their rights as a worker is the key to shielding themfrom employer exploitation. Apple has documented its codes of conductand made their employees aware of them to enable them to realize whenthe companies are mistreating them. In 2015, the company was able totrain about 2.3 million employees on workers’ rights.

Environment,health, and safety

AppleCompany is committed to respecting the environment in which peoplelive and work in. The corporation is among the best companies inpromoting ensuring proper sanitation, clean water, and proper garbagemanagement. In an attempt to reduce environmental pollution, thecompany has come up with various initiatives and strategies. Applehas been able to form partnerships with its suppliers and put intoplace programs that focus on reducing the level of their carbonfootprint. Reusing and recycling have also been another strategy thecompany has undertaken to ensure that their products have beenmanufactured with the release of minimal by- products. In 2015 thecompany was able to commence waste diversion programs within 22 ofits suppliers’ factories.

Employeehealth and safety has also been prioritized within the Apple Company.In 2013, the organization was able to establish an Environment,Health and Safety (EHS) Academy whose core objectives was to trainthe employees on the critical EHS skills. The lessons mainly focusedon emergency protection, preparedness and response among otherfundamental employee rights and responsibilities.

Labourand human rights

AppleCompany has never stopped fighting for human rights. The managementof this company believes that worker rights are human rights andevery laborer whether skilled, semi- qualified or unskilled ought tobe treated with the utmost dignity and respect. For years the companyhas been working hard to combat bondage labor which has becomeprevalent in most countries. The company has gone to the extentcommanding their suppliers who source workforce from overseas tocharge no recruitment fees for all workers in their production lines.The company also condemns child labor and has stated its minimumworking age as 15 years or the age declared by the law whichever isbigger. In case a supplier violates this law, they will be forced totake back to children to their homes and cater for their basic needsuntil the kids reach working age. Another area of workers’ rightsthat the company places strong emphasis on is excessive workinghours. The company has regulated its working hours to a limit of nomore than of 60 hours per week and a day off in every seven days.According to them, exposure to long hours of work is unjust andunsafe.

Accountability

TheApple Company has played a great role in ensuring accountabilityamong their suppliers. The organization sets high standards for thevendors and helps them meet the standards. To show compliance withthe firm’s codes of conduct, the distributors ought to meet thestringent rules governing the quality of products and the servicesoffered. From time to time the Apple Company undertakes some auditingprocesses to confirm adherence to the laid down rules. The firms thatare reported to be non-compliant are required to submit theircorrective measures within two weeks after the auditing have beendone. The organization has been working in collaboration with itssuppliers instead of only policing them to strengthen the degree ofcooperation (Apple 2015).

Sincelast year Apple’s progress report has shown some significantdifferences. The current progress report indicates that theorganization has conducted over 633 audits of its suppliers within 19states. It has also reached about 300,000 workers to make inquirieson whether their managers treat them with justices and fairness asrequire. The report also shows that the organization has also grownmore vibrant in providing educational programs where in the last yearabout 2.3 million workers were trained on the issue of employees’rights. Moreover, the firm has also prioritized health and safety forits employees where it has recruited over 156 suppliers and about 392new participants into the Environment, Health, and Safety Academy(Apple 2015).

Thisyears’ report indicates that the organization has becomeenvironmental friendly by upgrading the standards they expect theirsuppliers to uphold. In the previous reports, violation of theenvironmental standards like inadequate disposal of hazardous garbagewas taken less seriously. It has now been categorized as anunacceptable breach. Audits regarding this matter have been increaseswith over 50%. The organization has shown a keen interest inaccountability, where it has grown its checks to 633 from 451inspections in the past years.

Apple’ssupplier codes of conduct have been of great help to the firm inenabling it to operate as a socially responsible company in thefollowing ways.

Theorganization’s codes of conduct require the suppliers who sourceworkforce from foreign countries to charge zero recruitment fees. Inthat case, the employees will not suffer from debt-bonded labor whichcan be classified as a form of worker exploitation (Apple 2015). Thisregulation enables the Apple Company to operate as a sociallyresponsible corporation.

Applesuppliers are expected to treat all of their employees equally withrespect and dignity regardless of their gender, marital status, race,nationality or disability. By adhering to this code of conduct, thesuppliers can create a conducive working environment for theiremployees hence making the company a socially responsible firm.

AppleCompany is dedicated to maintaining high environmental standardsthrough ensuring that their suppliers engage in environmentallyfriendly practices and control pollution as much as possible. Bydoing so, the company promotes the well-being of both the externaland internal public which makes it a socially responsiblecorporation.

Everycode of conduct has been set to ensure that the company operateswithin the socially, economically and culturally excepted laws. Thesecodes of conducts are also useful in enabling the company to engagein competitive, and ethical strategies which have positioned thecompany at the top position in the electronic equipment industry.

References

AppleInc (2015). Appleprogress report.Apple Inc: California

AppleInc (2015). Applesupplier code of conduct.Apple Inc: California

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