Apple announced today that it would respond to concerns about abusive working conditions at China's Foxconn, which makes iPods, iPads and other Apple products.
After a global petition turned in 250,000 signatures at Apple stores around the world last week, Apple announced today that it will investigate working conditions.
Apple will ask the Fair Labor Association to investigate their supplier factories, including Foxconn, and make their findings transparent. The company hasn't responded to the other request in the petitions, however, which asks them to create a worker protection strategy for new product releases.
Foxconn's practices came to light when Mark Shields, a self-identified Apple "super-user" launched a viral campaign on Change.org.
Foxconn houses hundreds of thousands of people army barrack-style, and subjects workers - including children - to double shifts and other conditions that have resulted in stress-related worker suicides.
"The overwhelming support for Mark's campaign clearly shows that Apple users and consumers care about how Apple products are made, and how the workers who make them are treated," says Amanda Kloer, Director of Organizing for Change.org.
Foxconn Technology Group, which is the largest contract manufacturer of electronics, is also a new competitor in the Chinese solar industry. It plans to build a solar manufacturing plant in China, adding to the oversupply and stress encountered last year by solar manufacturers worldwide.
Foxconn plans to build new factories with undreamed-of scale and lower cost," says Jenny Chase at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Here's the petition: