Chinese Officials Investigating Accusations of Toxic Metal Dumping by Two Apple Suppliers

Monday August 5, 2013 6:52 AM PDT by Richard Padilla
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Chinese government officials are investigating Apple suppliers and electronics manufacturers UniMicron and Foxconn after local environmental groups accused both of dumping large amounts of toxic heavy metals into nearby rivers. The area in question is an industrial district 40 miles west of Shanghai that has been a longtime area of electronics development, but has also recently been suspected of letting harmful pollutants into China's environment.

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Local officials are investigating plants owned by Taiwanese companies Foxconn Technology Group and UniMicron Technology Corp., said Ding Yudong, the vice director of the local arm of China's environmental regulator. The probe follows accusations late last week by Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun and a group of five nonprofit organizations that the companies are releasing water tainted with heavy metals into the rivers.
An Apple spokeswoman replied to the accusations, saying that the company has been working in cooperation with suppliers and environmental groups to meet the standards established by the company. Apple has published Supplier Responsibility Progress Reports every year since 2007 to track the ethical progress of its suppliers in order to bring transparency to its manufacturing process. The company also recently established an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program to ensure "safe and ethical working conditions wherever its products are made."

Last month, a Chinese worker’s rights group brought forth allegations of poor working conditions at Pegatron, another primary Apple supplier and electronics manufacturing company. The labor group accused Pegatron of making numerous safety and workplace violations, including the unethical holding of worker pay and poor living conditions within the factory. Pegatron currently employs 70,000 workers and produces one-third of the world's iPhones and iPads.

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16 months ago
Been saying for years that dodging taxes and environmental regulation is the main reason for off-shore production, not the labor rate.

And the biggest problems are not from the large well-known companies, but from the suppliers up and down the production chain, from mining to making little parts.

I don't think it can be shown that "socialized" industries have a better environmental record than their capitalist counterparts.
Rating: 3 Votes
16 months ago

Dumping large amounts of toxic heavy metals into nearby rivers? Usual **** for corporation like Apple, they are rotten inside because capitalism is.

Reports made by the same corporation are just ******** over ********. How can you expect that they hurt their own profits?


First of all, this isn't Apple dumping stuff. Second, Apple is not their only client!

Foxconn makes Microsoft and Nintendo consoles, for example.
Rating: 3 Votes
16 months ago

I'm calm. I just think that a different world is possible. Don't you?


Besides frothing at the mouth, what is your solution?
Rating: 3 Votes
16 months ago

Dumping large amounts of toxic heavy metals into nearby rivers? Usual **** for corporation like Apple, they are rotten inside because capitalism is.

Reports made by the same corporation are just ******** over ********. How can you expect that they hurt their own profits?


What a stupid comment. Apple didn't dump anything. Two companies with many different customers, of which one is Apple, are _accused_ of doing this. In other news, two HP suppliers, two Dell suppliers, two Microsoft suppliers, and so on, were accused of the exact same matter.

And dumping toxic heavy metals isn't profitable. Quite the opposite. And in China, the perpetrators might end up with a massive dose of acute lead poisoning.


But the large companies knows really well what is happening up and down the production chain, they need things to goes this way to keep up profits.


Please explain to me how it helps Apple's profits if one of their suppliers damages the environment. Do you think Foxconn says to Apple "we just saved $10,000 by dumping this toxic stuff into a river instead of handling it correctly, here's half of it"?
Rating: 2 Votes
16 months ago

Wait a moment, you call criticism "frothing at the mouth"?

Yes I would call a post with multiple expletives that required editing by a moderator frothing at the mouth.
Rating: 2 Votes
16 months ago

Apple didn't do it, Apple is a customer, so what you are saying is that every customer of Apple that buy an iPhone or so are just as guilty.


People vote with their dollars, that's how capitalism works.

We know what's been happening over seas as we're tech savvy and MacRumors has covered these matters many times. Certainly other companies use the same manufacturers, however it doesn't excuse Apple or any other company for not taking a genuine stance. Cook appearing at Foxconn and meeting the workers for photo op's and P.R. is hardly a genuine act towards bettering these matters. If you know that your money is going to support a company which utilizes a great deal of manufacturing from another company with well documented employee and environmental abuse, then indirectly you are supporting that system whether you agree or not.

The tired excuses wear thin after a few years. Since other companies use the same manufacturers with questionable working conditions and toxic waste means it's ok. Heck, if Foxconn can bend the law, why can't we? "We're not Foxconn, so you can't blame us." BS. Electronics companies are not ignorant and blind to what is happening, they feign shock and make a few announcements and perhaps a photo op, but you'd be kidding yourself.

People leave their families to work ungodly hours and live in cubicles next to their factories so we can boast, complain, moan and fight over electronic devices that [frankly] we don't really need. There was a time long, long ago when human beings would actually meet face to face instead of texting and emailing. Wow!
Rating: 2 Votes
16 months ago


But hey! Corporations are soo good inside.

Rating: 2 Votes
16 months ago

As reported (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323420604578648002283373528.html) by The Wall Street Journal, Chinese government officials are investigating Apple suppliers and electronics manufacturers UniMicron and Foxconn after local environmental groups accused both of dumping large amounts of toxic heavy metals into nearby rivers. The area in question is an industrial district 40 miles west of Shanghai that has been a longtime area of electronics development, but has also recently been suspected of letting harmful pollutants into China's environment.

Article Link: Chinese Officials Investigating Accusations of Toxic Metal Dumping by Two Apple Suppliers (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/08/05/chinese-officials-investigating-accusations-of-toxic-metal-dumping-by-two-apple-suppliers/)


If these allegations are true, that is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. What irks me is that there is again that innocuous little link to APPLE, insinuating that this is an APPLE problem, to be solved somehow by APPLE, while leaving out all of the many other FOXCONN customers.

Certainly APPLE can and should use their influence as one of FOXCONN's largest customers, to persuade the latter to remedy this dangerous and illegal dumping, but ultimately, it remains the responsibility of FOXCONN and the Chinese authorities to stop these crimes against the environment.
Rating: 1 Votes
16 months ago
So let's summarize togg's argument:

1. Apple is evil.
2. Apple is lying to us.
3. We are all stupid for believing anything that Apple says.

Now I'll summarise all the evidence that he has other than his prejudices:
Rating: 1 Votes
16 months ago


Please explain to me how it helps Apple's profits if one of their suppliers damages the environment. Do you think Foxconn says to Apple "we just saved $10,000 by dumping this toxic stuff into a river instead of handling it correctly, here's half of it"?


It's not limited to any one tech company. In terms of savings, it comes in the form of providing lower bids that do not account for the cost of handling things properly, or just poor management of funds. Either way our tech companies are likely to keep themselves well separated from any of this.
Rating: 1 Votes

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