Apple Partners with Chinese Environmental Group for Supplier Audit

apple environmental impactWhile Apple has received much publicity for its partnership with the Fair Labor Association to audit working conditions at several of its manufacturing partners' facilities in China, Financial Times reports that the company has now also partnered with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) for an environmental audit of a supplier's facilities.

Apple has agreed to a jointly monitored audit of pollution controls at a supplier's factory in China, in what activists see as a breakthrough in their efforts to persuade the world's most valuable company to address environmental concerns.

A maker of printed circuit boards for the Silicon Valley company is due to be inspected in the next few weeks by auditors, with Apple and the China-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) jointly monitoring their efforts.

According to the report, Apple and the IPE have been in discussions for months about a partnership, culminating in a five-hour meeting in Cupertino last October that set the stage for a formal relationship. Following this initial audit, the IPE hopes that it will be able to partner with Apple on audits of thirteen other facilities in China that are already being monitored by Apple.

The IPE is led by Ma Jun, an environmental activist who just today was announced as one of six winners of this year's Goldman Environmental Prize.

In October, the activist and author met with senior Apple executives in San Francisco and Cupertino to discuss his report, published a month earlier, on health hazards caused by pollution in the company's Chinese supply chain.

Ma will be at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on Monday to receive the Goldman Environmental Prize for "bringing unprecedented environmental transparency and empowering Chinese citizens to demand justice." His work has prompted the Chinese government and multinational corporations, including Apple, to more seriously confront the issues he has long been raising.

As part of its environmental disclosures, Apple has noted that it focused on 14 suppliers for environmental audits in 2011, and the company is expanding its efforts in 2012 to include additional facilities, work more closely with governmental and nongovernmental agencies such as the IPE, and increase training on environmental responsibility throughout its supply chain.

Top Rated Comments

carlgo Avatar
157 months ago
As Apple and everyone else knows, the real pollution comes from the first steps in production. Chinese mines are a horror story and it doesn't get much better at the next tiers of processing the base materials and then forming them into parts and so on up the ladder.

This is the real reason stuff can be made cheaply in China.

You can bet the labor situation at these levels is also vastly worse than at Foxcon and other more visible plants.

So, really the announced (!) inspection of a high-level assembly plant is just a fell-good process that will end with a gala dinner of Peking Duck and a surprisingly good Chinese wine.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brdeveloper Avatar
157 months ago
When it comes to the environment, Apple may be the lesser of ten thousand evils, but that still doesn't change the fact that extremely heavy consumption of consumer electronic products is a net negative for the environment no matter who supplies it.


Agreed. If we really cared about the environment, we should consume less, e.g. not buying the newer product's version every year. Maybe when people do this, companies will care more about product upgradeability, that is, the possibility to increase the power of a device by changing some parts instead of the whole one.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3282868 Avatar
157 months ago
Because Chinese citizens are incapable of caring about the environment or organizing to form activist organisations?

Prejudiced much?
No, because I've been to many parts of china, and India, and sadly isn't a green country (hence the need for environmental groups).

Google India River and see how much plastic is pouring out of India into the ocean, accompanied by sewage. China is far from an eco-friendly nation. Educate before you boldly criticize someone you do not know for making a valid point. It merely demonstrates your ignorance. :)

Done here as this thread (as usual) has become filled with personal attacks rather than productive discourse. As usual, god forbid someone make a statement that paints Apple in a bad light. As I stated, blind adoration will only lessen a great company, not improve it. As Steve Jobs did with Apple, perfection is key, not mediocrity.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3282868 Avatar
157 months ago
Hahah I was gonna post that exact thing... How stupid do they think people are?

China has rivers that have RED "water", thats how polluted they are. Nobody gives a crap about the environment there. Just profits.

Spot on. Yet god forbid anyone criticize this issue on MacRumors. You know, it's when you blindly follow a company no matter what that you lose sight of what is important. I love Apple as much as the next guy here, but it's when we accept everything they do as perfect that Apple begins to slip (as is the case with Lion).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dragado Avatar
157 months ago
Agreed. If we really cared about the environment, we should consume less, e.g. not buying the newer product's version every year. Maybe when people do this, companies will care more about product upgradeability, that is, the possibility to increase the power of a device by changing some parts instead of the whole one.

I think part of the issue is how you measure this. I think many people do try to consume less (I do), but there's no real way to know on the global scale. At the end of the day, you can only be responsible for yourself.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3282868 Avatar
157 months ago
your username with your view on the chinese are a bit oxymoron :rolleyes:
:rolleyes:

Agreed. If we really cared about the environment, we should consume less, e.g. not buying the newer product's version every year. Maybe when people do this, companies will care more about product upgradeability, that is, the possibility to increase the power of a device by changing some parts instead of the whole one.
Well stated sir :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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