Apple Accused of Dirty Business in China

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.”