In its Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report, issued in February 2011, Apple accounts for the first time for its responses to the suicides at Foxconn. The reports details how two suicide prevention specialists with experience in China accompanied Apple COO Tim Cook and other Apple executives on a visit to the Shenzhen factory in June 2010. This group met with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou and members of his senior staff to better understand the conditions at the site and to assess the emergency measures Foxconn was putting in place to prevent more suicides. In July, an independent review by a broader team of suicide prevention experts was commissioned. This independent team found that "Foxconn’s response had definitely saved lives". Relevant details about these investigations, including names of the suicide specialists, the composition of the investigation team, the methodology, the questionnaire, etc. were not disclosed. Details of the findings and recommendations were not disclosed.
In its Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report, Apple accounts for its responses to the suicides at Foxconn. The full text reads as follows:
"Like many of our customers and others around the world, we were disturbed and deeply saddened to learn that factory workers were taking their own lives at the Shenzhen facility of Foxconn. Recognizing that we would need additional expertise to help prevent further tragedies, we launched an international search for the most knowledgeable suicide prevention specialists—particularly those with experience in China— and asked them to advise Apple and Foxconn. Two leading experts accompanied Apple COO Tim Cook and other Apple executives on a visit to the Shenzhen factory in June 2010. This group met with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou and members of his senior staff to better understand the conditions at the site and to assess the emergency measures Foxconn was putting in place to prevent more suicides.
Apple then commissioned an independent review by a broader team of suicide prevention experts. This team was asked to conduct a deeper investigation into the suicides, evaluate Foxconn’s response, and recommend strategies for supporting workers’ mental health in the future.
During July 2010, the independent team:
- Surveyed more than 1000 workers about their quality of life, sources of stress, psychological health, and other work-related factors. The team designed the questionnaire, delivered and collected it, and tabulated the results without Foxconn’s involvement.
- Interviewed workers face to face, met separately with their managers, and evaluated working and living conditions firsthand.
- Reviewed the facts of each suicide and the known circumstances behind them.
- Evaluated Foxconn’s management of the crisis, assessing the effectiveness of counseling services and emergency response systems.
In August 2010, the independent team presented its findings and recommendations to Terry Gou and senior executives from Foxconn and Apple.
- The team commended Foxconn for taking quick action on several fronts simultaneously, including hiring a large number of psychological counselors, establishing a 24-hour care center, and even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides.
- The independent team also found that Foxconn had worked openly with many outside experts and government officials in reacting to the crisis.
- Most important, the investigation found that Foxconn’s response had definitely saved lives.
- The independent team suggested several areas for improvement, such as better training of hot line staff and care center counselors and better monitoring to ensure effectiveness.
Foxconn incorporated the team’s specific recommendations into their long-term plans for addressing employee wellbeing. The company is implementing an employee assistance program (EAP)
that focuses on maintaining employee mental health and expanding social support networks. In addition, they have begun the process of expanding operations to other parts of China, enabling workers to be closer to their home provinces.
Apple will continue to work with Foxconn through the implementation of these programs, and we plan to take key learnings from this engagement to other facilities in our supply base".