Apple is working with the Chinese group the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) to audit a factory where printed circuit boards are made. This is the first time a joint audit of a supplier is planned, and might suggest more openness from Apple over pollution concerns.
At the present time, only one factory is targeted for auditing, but it is hoped that more will be planned for the future. Wang Jing Jang said, “We think this is a very positive step made by Apple. We hope this won’t simply be a pilot project, but that more open inspections will continue.”
Apple has been criticized for its business practices in China. Labor practices by its suppliers have been scrutinized and found lacking in several areas, such as overtime and safety violations. In addition, Apple’s suppliers have been accused in the past of discharging toxic pollutants into surrounding communities.
There were also reports of hazardous waste that was being disposed of improperly. Apple has done its own investigations and detailed its efforts in an annual progress report and released the names of its suppliers for the first time this year.