samsungIn a statement published on its website today, Samsung said it’s “urgently looking into the latest allegations” of child labor in its supplier facilities and will adhere to a zero-tolerance policy going forward. The statement follows news from the China Labor Watch via The Wall Street Journal that exploitation of child labor has been discovered at Samsung supplier in Dongguan, China. The allegations also follow Samsung’s 2014 sustainability report published in late June where Samsung claimed “no instances of child labor were found”.

On June 30, Samsung published its 2014 sustainability report titled “Global Harmony”. Within, Samsung says that it inspected working conditions at 200 suppliers in 2013 and “no instances of child labor were found”. After allegedly inspecting hundreds of suppliers, Samsung did not find one child worker. Yet in just one Samsung supplier factory, CLW has uncovered several children employed without labor contracts, working 11 hours per day and only being paid for 10 of those hours.

In its statement, Samsung notes that its in the unique position to ensure “World-class working conditions” with approximately 90 percent of its parts supplied by in-house Samsung facilities. Samsung also talks some of its recent initiatives to combat the problem including a new hiring process its forcing its suppliers to adopt and a new Child Labor Prohibition Policy developed alongside the Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility.

While it hasn’t confirmed the results of the third-party audit, Samsung says it’s “moving as fast as possible to address the labor related issues that have been identified” and that it will take “appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers.”

Samsung’s full response to the allegations is below:

Samsung is urgently looking into the recent child labor allegations and will adhere to its zero-tolerance policy 

At Samsung Electronics, we deeply care about the health and safety of all our employees and employees at our suppliers, and strictly maintain a zero tolerance policy on child labor.

As part of our pledge against child labor, Samsung routinely conducts inspections to monitor our suppliers to ensure they follow our commitment. For the supplier in question, we have conducted a thorough audit in March 2013 which was followed by a third party inspection in August 2013, and yet another one in June 2014. No cases of child labor were found during these audits.

We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers.

We have demanded our suppliers to adopt a new hiring process to strengthen identity verification beginning the end of 2012. These measures included face-to-face interviews of candidates before hiring, the use of an electronic scanner to detect fake IDs, and distribution of new supplier guidelines setting forth Samsung’s commitments to preventing child labor. In addition to these measures, a facial recognition system was introduced in April this year.

Samsung believes it is our responsibility to hold ourselves and our suppliers to the highest standards of labor practices. As part of this commitment and to pave the way for other companies, Samsung announced our Child Labor Prohibition Policy in China on June 27.

The policy was co-developed with Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) in China, which is owned by Save the Children Sweden. It is an example of our efforts to promote a level of compliance that meets the same high standards we maintain at our own facilities. For your information, the Policy can be downloaded in English at the site.

As ninety percent of our parts are uniquely supplied in-house by Samsung’s own manufacturing facilities, we can directly provide world-class working conditions throughout our global network of manufacturing facilities and comply with international labor standards in all regions in which we operate.

With regard to the small share of parts that are supplied by external suppliers, we are moving as fast as possible to address the labor related issues that have been identified from our own and third-party audits and are providing trainings to enhance their capabilities.

 

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