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TheStreet Open House

4 Areas Where Apple's Cook Could Outperform Jobs

Clean Up the Supply Chain

Cook, a logistics guru, is already facing calls to turn his attention to Apple's suppliers, particularly working conditions at some of the company's contractors.

TheStreet reader Stephen Nuchia, for example, responding to a question on Cook's strategy that was posted on Facebook, urged the new Apple CEO to "establish humane working conditions throughout the supply chain."

Apple has also had to defend itself against alleged pollution by suppliers that make its products in China.

A spokesman for the tech giant, though, told TheStreet that Apple is committed to "driving the highest standards of social responsibility" throughout its supply chain. "We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made," he explained, in an email. "Suppliers commit to the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct as a condition of doing business with us, and we monitor their compliance through a rigorous program of onsite factory audits."

Apple, unlike most tech companies, also publishes an annual report on "supplier responsibility." In this year's report, Apple noted that it extended its supplier monitoring program and has also been working aggressively to prevent the hiring of underage workers.

Audits conducted by Apple in 2010, however, found 91 cases of underage labor within the supply chain, according to the report. An inspection by Apple in 2009 had found evidence of 11 underage workers.

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