March 04, 2022
Washington DC - Activists protested Apple’s links to Uyghur forced labor camps this morning, hours before the company’s annual general meeting.
The world’s most valuable firm faces allegations that multiple Apple suppliers are involved in a Chinese government-run labor program in the Uyghur region. iPhone screens are implicated, among other products.
Actors for corporate watchdog group SumOfUs staged a mock prison camp outside Apple’s flagship store in Washington, D.C, from 9am ET, in which Uyghurs were depicted shackled behind a wall of barbed wire.
SumOfUs members who hold shares in the company submitted a resolution calling on Apple to do more to root out any forced labor in its supply chains. The firm tried to block the resolution but was overruled by the Securities and Exchange Commission. A vote outcome is expected later today.
The U.S. has passed laws to bar imports linked to systematic abuses of Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim populations.
SumOfUs campaign director Vicky Wyatt said:
“Apple’s forced labor problem threatens to wreck the company’s squeaky clean image and disrupt its supply chain. Shareholders know Apple’s refusal to deal with its forced labor problem is bad for business.
That’s why some of Apple’s biggest investors, like Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, have already said they’ll vote for our resolution.
“Apple finally got serious with Putin over Ukraine but won’t do the same with the government of China over Uyghur forced labor. Today that could change.”
The resolution is also backed by the influential corporate governance advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). SumOfUs has a track record of moving the dial at Apple. In 2020, Apple adopted a human rights policy following a SumOfUs proposal backed by more than 40 percent of investors.
Over 180,000 SumOfUs members have signed a petition on the Uyghur forced labor scandal.