Apple Factories to Get Outside Audit

Following recent reports and protests over inhumane working conditions at its Chinese suppliers, Apple has asked an outside organization to audit its plants. Until recently the company has strongly resisted divulging information about its suppliers. The move is designed to forestall the kind of public-relations disasters that hit Nike, Gap, and other companies. In fact, the auditor, the Fair Labor Association, was formed out of a task force created by President Clinton and apparel companies, including Nike, to help combat child labor. Critics say the association isn't independent enough, but other analysts say the move could result in greater transparency throughout the industry.