Apple Accused of Dirty Business in China

| News

Apple in ChinaA Chinese environmental group, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, has accused Apple suppliers of discharging toxic pollutants into surrounding communities.

The New York Times reports that the group based its accusations on their visits to the regions throughout China of suspected Apple suppliers. They found 27 suppliers to have issues with environmental stewardship, including improperly disposing of hazardous waste. The group has published its findings in a 46-page report.

Apple maintains that it aggressively monitors it’s suppliers and holds them accountable. It regularly audits them and issues it’s own report of problems it finds. It also expects suppliers to correct violations within 90 days. And many industry experts say that large, brand-name companies do a better job with environmental concerns than smaller Chinese companies.

Ma Jun, who directs the Chinese group, says that Apple has a poor record and has been less responsive than other companies in responding to their investigations. They had similar concerns in an earlier report issued in January. He did, however, admit that Apple has agreed to discuss their new findings.

Apple has had suppliers with other types of social concerns in the recent past, including worker suicides and industrial accidents involving a fire that killed 2 workers and a toxic chemical incident that seriously injured 137 . But they are not the only company with problems in China. Dozens of companies have been chastised for violating labor laws and polluting waterways, among other things.

Steve Dowling, a spokesperson for Apple, responded, “Apple is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply chain. We require that our supplier provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”

Comments

prl53

Julie, I am hoping your new venture into being a “total nerd” takes a different direction than this article. Writing sensational headings is something trash newspapers do, not Mac Observer. I read the content of this article on other websites so nothing here is new but including a headline accusing Apple of being dirty puts you in the same garbage dump as a lot of other me-to writers. Apple wasn’t accused of being dirty, however, they are accused of using suppliers who are.

Lee Dronick

Primarily it should be the Chinese governments job to monitor factories for environmental concerns and worker conditions.

chicochaz

Primarily it should be the Chinese governments job to monitor factories for environmental concerns and worker conditions.

You are so right. If Chinese factories are polluting China then it’s the Chinese government’s responsibility to deal with it! Pinning this on Apple is totally lame.

Lee Dronick

You are so right. If Chinese factories are polluting China then it?s the Chinese government?s responsibility to deal with it! Pinning this on Apple is totally lame.

Apple may have some influence with a factory if they are just one of a number who could manufacture the component. “Either you make it cleanly or we will take out business elsewhere.”

On the other hand maybe currently there is just one or two factories that can make the part. In that case you either find a substitute or grudgingly live with the fact that one of your suppliers does dirty work.

We used to make these things here, are their any such factories still doing it in the USA? I don’t think so. I think that they went overseas in part so that businesses would not have to comply environmental laws. Apple is not alone in this, other businesses do it, and at the end of the chain is the consumer who doesn’t see the conditions around the factory.

I would love to see Apple bring their manufacturing back here. Would it mean price increases? Maybe, maybe not.

mhikl

As noted, Apple moves when the bad news is known. I wouldn’t doubt this will be attended to. Apple has shown before that it has a conscience.

I’m glad Sir Harry began with Primarily. It is the people who move their government. However, it is our planet.

mhikl

We used to make these things here, are their any such factories still doing it in the USA? I don?t think so. I think that they went overseas in part so that businesses would not have to comply environmental laws.

Apple is purported to be considering manufacturing in countries outside the Far East, possibly Brazil.

It is my dream that Apple returns some manufacturing to the USA. It has the power to be a trend setter. Sadly, the American public spoke loudly with their wallets when manufacturing moved out, saving some change. Maybe that same public will again speak if Apple were to move back.

mhikl

Would it mean price increases? Maybe, maybe not.

I read an old article in some past moment that lies in the aether of my thoughts but I am sure it said something to the effect that robots would someday build our dreams, and they wouldn’t expect wages. And compared to the human kind, they are cheap like borscht*.

That time is come. Chinese plants are using fewer and fewer bloods. A robot factory can be boxed, craned and motored anywhere in the world, set up anywhere its cheap and a modicum of hands can be hired to dust and push a button or two. Robots are exacting, make fewer mistakes and health plans are cheap in comparison.

The time may be just round the corner but it needs a leader and Apple is that leader. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

* cheap is a relative word

Lee Dronick

I?m glad Sir Harry began with Primarily. It is the people who move their government. However, it is our planet.

Eventually stuff in the air, in the water, is spread around the Globe. Here in San Diego they are measuring radiation from the Fukashima Nuclear Reactor disaster; It is quite diluted, but it is here. A factory in in China dumps lead, mercury, or whatever toxic and it eventually ends up in the ocean at Vietnam from where we get a lot of our shrimp. Check out the movie On the Beach for a chilling story about radiation killing off the earth. Yes it is science fiction, but many syfy stories have come true, hopefully this will never happen.

Apple is purported to be considering manufacturing in countries outside the Far East, possibly Brazil.

It is my dream that Apple returns some manufacturing to the USA. It has the power to be a trend setter. Sadly, the American public spoke loudly with their wallets when manufacturing moved out, saving some change. Maybe that same public will again speak if Apple were to move back.

I have a buzz in my thoughts that Apple is indeed planning on bringing at least some manufacturing out of China. Also as you may know I have a military background and am concerned about the situation in the South China Seas and the oil fields therein. It is quite possible that supplies of consumer goods from China could be cutoff or curtailed. Apple is also one who looks beyond the horizon, maybe they want to be the last one with a chair when the music stops.

I would love to see Tim Cook showing the iPhone 6 and saying “Oh there is one more thing. It is manufactured entirely in the USA, Canada, and Brazil.”

estern53

Why is such a hard concept to realize Apple is just like and other corp and is doing what it takes to make a profit. even if it means turning a blind eye toward polluting the environment, causing workers deaths, and hiring children. its about the the money, think greed. The NY times just ran a brilliant article on Apple’s distaste for giving to charity. When are people going to wake up and look at the emperors new clothes.

jfbiii

You mean this article? I wouldn’t characterize it as an article about Apple’s “distaste” for giving to charity. Furthermore, I’m not sure how addressing issues head-on as Apple has done with their supply chain qualifies as “turning a blind eye,” either.

The only thing you’re exposing here, estern, is your lack of veracity.

estern53

The story will get told and I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in regards to Apple’s business practices. When Apple starts spending that 76 billion they have hanging around on bringing manufacturing back to the US then I might stand up and cheer for them.

jfbiii

Cheer them or criticize them…just do it truthfully. It’s interesting, though, that instead of tackling issues of ethics and responsibility many people now feel that advancing awareness happens by criticizing Apple, which has—generally speaking—demonstrated better ethics and more responsible behavior than its competitors.

estern53

I’m open to hearing both sides of the story. So we wait and see what the investigation shows. I have had many dealing with Apple since i began selling Apple computers in 1995 and have friends who have worked there in many different capacities and we all agree the company has changed a lot in the past 3 years since Tim Cook has been CEO. A good friend of mine who wrote speeches for Apple executives always told me the company at the top was fine with Jobs, but when it came to running the day to day stuff, dealing with vendors and Vars and the AASP side they hired dicks to carry out the dirty work. As the godfather said “its nothing personal just business” I have yet to encounter a corporation that gets as big as Apple without some shady dealings along the way to get to the top.

mhikl

Anyone can say anything about Apple or Google or whomever. And everyone can research and find out for themselves before they open their mouths. Some do. Others don’t.

Log-in to comment