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In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Apricus website for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain.

Supply chain policy (poor)
A strong policy would include the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason.

Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language.

Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should be publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company.

Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association.

The company did not have any publicly available information on any of the above, therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference: (8 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Apricus's website for the company's conflict minerals policy, as the company's website marketed own-brand electronic products such as solar controllers. No policy was found.

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.

Ethical Consumer expected all companies manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict-free sourcing of 3TG minerals and a commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and that the company had membership of, or gave financial support to, organisations developing the conflict-free industry in the region.

Due to the fact the company had no policy it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its policy on conflict free minerals and lost a whole mark under the Habitats and Resources and Human Rights categories.

Reference: (8 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Apricus website which listed the company's registered address in China. At the time of writing Ethical Consumer considered China to be governed by an oppressive regime.

The website spoke of operations in other locations such as Apricus Inc in the USA, and stated: "Founded in 2003 by Australian Mick Humphreys with a specific focus on solar thermal solutions, Apricus has since grown into a global company with distribution and support offices worldwide." The Apricus Australia website was also viewed, stating "Apricus own and manage its own production plant; it is NOT an OEM product. The plant is based in Nanjing, China, where Apricus Solar Co., Founder and CEO, Michael Humphreys is based."

As there was no evidence to the contrary, Apricus was considered to be a company that originates from China and was not marked down for operations in oppressive regimes. This reference is for information only.

Reference: (8 January 2021)