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Following Controversy, Apple Shedding More Light on Suppliers

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A couple of weeks ago, Apple was feeling some major heat after a New York Times story revealed poor working conditions at factories making i-products. Things had gone so far as to cause the death of employees. Since then, it looks like Apple is taking steps to boost its rep in this area and squash the outcry.

The company had already released the names of more than 150 supplier factories. Then Apple announced last week that a nonprofit will be making public a list of factories with terrible working conditions. (The New York Times’ Bits blog says some question how third party this nonprofit, the Fair Labor Association, really is.) Tonight, Nightline will be airing a tour it took of the infamous Foxconn factory, where 18 employees committed suicide in 2010. (Foxconn is an Apple supplier.) And Apple has announced that it will allow environmental reviews of at least two Chinese factories that supply it.

Auret van Heerden, president of the Fair Labor Association, says he expects that Foxconn, like other factories, will “put on a show for us.” Nightline reporter Bill Weir, giving a sneak preview today on GMA, touted the unfettered, first-time access the show was given. Clip above.

As for the environmental reviews, USA Today reports that they will start in March. While Apple wouldn’t comment (of course), its website reaffirms the company’s commitment to “safe working conditions,” eco-friendliness, and treatment of workers with “dignity and respect.”

Because people love Apple, these efforts will be looked upon favorably. However, these shouldn’t be actions taken as a response, but rather part of the long-term policy for the company.

Update: Below is the Nightline segment. Does this help or hurt Foxconn/Apple’s cause?

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