The NYTimes traced the death of a 22-year-old worker at a factory in China, run by one of Apple’s key suppliers. Experts deemed the accident avoidable. Unnamed Apple executives were quoted anonymously, claiming that while they had programs to monitor and audit suppliers, urgent market pressures sometimes took priority over safety.
Meanwhile, Apple officially declined comment. Given its publicly stated commitment to safety and its established Code of Conduct for suppliers, this was a missed opportunity.
The PR VERDICT: “C” for Apple. Better steps should have been taken. Silence in this case can only lead to further suspicion.
Start with a statement that says Apple was distressed and disturbed by the allegations. Then reiterate that nearly 300 audits of suppliers are completed annually all over the world and that Apple has an established management infrastructure to deal with this issue. Finally, confirm that the case raised by the NYTimes will now have the highest internal priority.
Don’t let the NYTimes have the last say.
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