Apple doing audit related to its human rights policy and labor practices this year

The assessment will be done by year's end

Apple will be doing an audit in connection to its human rights policy and worker rights this year, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing from the company.

"We plan to conduct an assessment on Apple’s efforts to comply with its Human Rights Policy as it relates to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights in the United States by the end of calendar year 2023," Apple said in an SEC filing Thursday.

Apple

An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to an Apple Store in New York City. (Reuters / Mike Segar / File / Reuters Photos)

A report on the matter would also be released, according to the iPhone maker’s filing.

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Roughly four months ago, an investor coalition submitted a shareholder proposal asking Apple to conduct such an audit. 

The group included the New York City Retirement Systems, Trillium ESG Global Equity Fund, SOC Investment Group, Parnassus Investments, Service Employees International Union Master Trust Pension Plan and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund. They control roughly 53 million Apple shares, according to the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

Apple logo on Apple Store

An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to an Apple Store in New York City. (AP Photo / Kathy Willens / File / AP Newsroom)

On Tuesday, the New York City Comptroller’s Office said Apple and the group had reached a withdrawal agreement. The investor coalition sent a letter the same day to Apple’s board to "set out our expectations regarding the implementation of the withdrawal agreement for your and the Board’s review," giving recommendations about the audit.

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They said the third-party assessor that the board picks should "not have a union avoidance practice" and be as "independent as practicable." The auditor should "collaborate with a widely respected outside human rights expert … to assist in leading the assessment and to provide strategic guidance," they also suggested.

The New York Times first reported on the assessment.

Apple saw efforts to organize at some stores in 2022.

It faced two complaints in 2022 from the National Labor Relations Board in connection to allegations of labor law violations, claims the company has refuted, according to the New York Times. Those accusations were related to an Atlanta store and a New York City location that took steps toward unionizing.

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Apple has previously said "regular, open, honest, and direct communication with our team members is a key part" of its culture, the outlet reported.

Apple will be doing an audit in connection to its human rights policy and worker rights this year, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing. (AP / File)

The iPhone maker said in the SEC filing where it mentioned the workers’ rights audit that it has "long been committed to respecting human rights" and "view[ed] this commitment as a fundamental part of who we are and our mission to enrich people’s lives."

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Apple’s stock was trading at nearly $136 on Tuesday afternoon, down almost 20% from a year ago.