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Apple opening up supplier factories to third-party environmental inspections

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
In addition to inspections of working conditions, Apple has agreed to cooperate on audits with independent environmental group seeking to verify the company's own findings.

At least two of Apple's suppliers will undergo the reviews, one prominent environmental activist told USA Today (via The Next Web).

Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, said in an interview that Apple had agreed late last month to open up its facilities to address reports from IPE and other groups outing suspected Apple suppliers as polluters. The audits could start as early as next month and may eventually expand to other suppliers.

Linda Greer, who heads the National Resources Defense Council's health program, said Apple had agreed to allow access to two of the 14 suppliers reviewed in its own environmental audits from last year. The groups will reportedly focus on whether Apple's suppliers are improperly disposing of toxic waste.

Last November, reports emerged that Apple had met with Chinese environmental protection groups to discuss their concerns. At that time, the iPhone maker told activists that some of the suppliers listed in their reports were not in fact part of its supply chain. Apple told the leaders that it had spoken to most of the suppliers that had been identified in the research notes and would contact the rest to ask them to reform.




Apple took a step toward transparency last month when it published a list of major suppliers. According to Monday's report, confirmed Apple suppliers named in IPE's report include Foxconn Technology, Meiko Electronics, Unimicron, Ibiden Electronics, Wintek, Nan Ya Printed Circuit Board and Compeq Manufacturing. Meiko has been accused of polluting nearby rivers and lakes, while residents near a Unimicron factory have complained of acid gas and dust.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has been under public scrutiny as of late due to several recent reports from The New York Times and CNN examining working conditions within Foxconn. For its part, Apple points to its new participation in the Fair Labor Association as evidence that it is working to better monitor working conditions within its supply chain. The FLA conducts independent audits of its members suppliers. It began inspections at Foxconn last week.

Foxconn has responded to criticism by raising wages as much as 25 percent for its factory workers. ABC is set to air an inside look at the manufacturer's facilities Tuesday on its Nightline news program. Reporter Bill Weir was offered rare access to Apple's production lines to produce the special.


[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 41
So when Apple's findings are proven will there be vindication in the media?.... probably not.
post #3 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Market_Player View Post

So when Apple's findings are proven will there be vindication in the media?.... probably not.

And will other companies be called out for not opening themselves up to such audits?

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post #4 of 41
Do Apple think that if they let Labor organisations and Environmental groups inspect their plants, that will be the end of it? No, the list of demands will never end.
post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Market_Player View Post

So when Apple's findings are proven will there be vindication in the media?.... probably not.

They'll probably find some minor contradictions, etc. and Apple will be defined as liars, hiding the truth, white-washing, etc. Not like Apple can be 100% aware of whats going on at these suppliers at all times, who themselves no doubt try to hide things from Apple. It's tough enough to be aware of everything going on at your OWN company, let alone suppliers across the world, under a communist government, with hundreds of thousands of employees.

Meanwhile, everyone will ignore the elephant in the room, which is that Apple is the only company in the industry actually opening up its suppliers to inspections, audits, and to media outlets in this unprecedented way. Al the other big players are slinking in the dark, giddy at the attention Apple is getting, who is acting as the scapegoat for the entire industry (as well as other industries).
post #6 of 41
So to be fair, where are the other PC companies that use these same facilities? Why don't they open up? Apple isn't the only company using Foxconn and these other suppliers. Why don't the other companies pony up and make it right too. At least Apple is trying to do something about this while the others hide like scared mice.
post #7 of 41
Apple's exploitation tactics have caused yet another explosion in a Chinese factory killing 13 people¡

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post #8 of 41
I get a kick out of how they chose Apple and focus on them. Other companies manufacture computers in china. On a massive scale but do they get singled out? NO! What the hell is going on here? Is there some green paper filled brief cases being slid under the table by Samsung and others to vilify Apple? This is a Joke man.
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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple's exploitation tactics have caused yet another explosion in a Chinese factory killing 13 people¡

Definitely Apple's fault, couldn't be anyone else. Seriously accidents do happen especially in heavy industry. China has made so many improvements over the last few years they get a very hard rap over things like this.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple's exploitation tactics have caused yet another explosion in a Chinese factory killing 13 people¡

Of course. It makes sense this is all Apple's fault.

Apple's products are made in China - Apple's fault.

Those products made in China by chinese workers - Apple's fault

Products made with metal that are mined from the earth in China - Apple's fault

13-workers killed in steel plant making steel, mined from the earth, in China - Apple's fault.

I see your logic Solips. It's frightening. </s>

I heard in the news that fairy-dust, and unicorn droppings were outsourced to China - Apple's fault.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Of course. It makes sense this is all Apple's fault.

Apple's products are made in China - Apple's fault.

Those products made in China by chinese workers - Apple's fault

Products made with metal that are mined from the earth in China - Apple's fault

13-workers killed in steel plant making steel, mined from the earth, in China - Apple's fault.

I see your logic Solips. It's frightening. </s>

I heard in the news that fairy-dust, and unicorn droppings were outsourced to China - Apple's fault.

300 million year old forest in China buried in ash - Apple's fault.

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post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

300 million year old forest in China buried in ash - Apple's fault.

Anybody ever notice your iPhone heats up after constant use?

Global warming - Apple's fault.
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post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple's exploitation tactics have caused yet another explosion in a Chinese factory killing 13 people¡

Yea, iPhones are made of solid steel LOL
post #14 of 41
So what hasn't been blamed on Apple in the media lately? The extinction of the dinosaurs, the melting of the ice caps, the hole in the ozone layer, and gas prices going up. I'm sure I've missed a few...
post #15 of 41
You may as well get used to the criticisms as they're way past playing the underdog card. It's no longer the little guy fighting the world.

Exxon gets it's fair share of accusations too. It just comes with the territory.
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post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Anybody ever notice your iPhone heats up after constant use?

Global warming - Apple's fault.

Anyone notice the spike in brain cancer from people holding their iPhones to their ear???
Apple's fault!

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post #17 of 41
I certainly agree the media does hype certain stories...

But having said that, I also think there are serious issues where Chinese labor is concerned.

Has China's average growth of 10% a year for the last 20+ years lifted half their population out of poverty? Yes.

Are there elements of exploitation? Yes.

Is it a given that you have to have both? No.

Best.
post #18 of 41
This whole program isn´t about the press or the competitors that are doing close to nothing. It is about Apple´s customers and about Apple itself. About everyone that works for Apple Inc., be that directly or within supply and distribution.

It´s a message of corporate philosophy and mentality, which is embodied throughout and within the organism Apple as corporation and as continuum stands for, to all its constituents that make up the Apple cosmos. Be that as a designer, coder, engineer, sales & marketing, distributor, sales floor agent, pr & ad agent, xEO, xOO, janitor, security, assembly line worker etc.... and as USER and CUSTOMER. We ALL are Apple, even the Apple-Haters if not in particular them.

It is a statement that affection to detail is first and foremost affection to the individual using the product and that Apple is working hard to not loose the individual human being in the industrialized production process, which so often happens in most, if not all technical appliances that are mass manufactured (produced). That is what SJ & Apple distinguished from everyone else and why many flocked to Apple, even throughout its "Dark Ages", and continue to do. It is the appeal that Apple stands for.

Apple answers to and adresses the individual in the public, not the public "en large" and its modern day self-serving proponents in media with its warped and distorted perception of how things ought to be. Apple has a face and speaks to a face, not to "the public".

IMHO
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You may as well get used to the criticisms as they're way past playing the underdog card. It's no longer the little guy fighting the world.

Exxon gets it's fair share of accusations too. It just comes with the territory.

I must have missed the memo where a container ship of iPhones plunged into the ocean, permanently damaging critical ecosystems.
post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You may as well get used to the criticisms as they're way past playing the underdog card. It's no longer the little guy fighting the world.

Exxon gets it's fair share of accusations too. It just comes with the territory.

The Captain of the Exxon Valdez was obviously distracted by his Mac Portable,..

...Apple's fault.
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post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And will other companies be called out for not opening themselves up to such audits?

They should be, let's all start a campaign or at least join one ... what's that web site that wants to claim they caused all this again? something .org
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post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You may as well get used to the criticisms as they're way past playing the underdog card. It's no longer the little guy fighting the world.

Exxon gets it's fair share of accusations too. It just comes with the territory.

You are seriously comparing Apple creating some of the best jobs China probably has for low end workers with The company that brought us The Exxon Valdez oil spill? Really?
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post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

So what hasn't been blamed on Apple in the media lately? The extinction of the dinosaurs, the melting of the ice caps, the hole in the ozone layer, and gas prices going up. I'm sure I've missed a few...

How crappy Androids are is another obvious link, after all they did try to copy Apple ...
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post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You may as well get used to the criticisms as they're way past playing the underdog card. It's no longer the little guy fighting the world.

Exxon gets it's fair share of accusations too. It just comes with the territory.



Apple is a scrappy little underdog who overcomes the powers of darkness. Against all the odds, with media conspiracies being the most recent tool of the forces of evil, Apple always prevails.

I'm not worried. Good and truth and light always wins when combined with a pioneering spirit and a dedication to the customer first.
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You are seriously comparing Apple creating some of the best jobs China probably has for low end workers with The company that brought us The Exxon Valdez oil spill? Really?

An accident from almost 25 years ago is all that you've seen Exxon criticized for? That has no more to do with today's Exxon than Apple being saved from failing by Microsoft about that same time does now.

Without making any judgements or political statements, rather just an observation, the world's biggest companies will always be blamed for issues that people think they're big enough, powerful enough and rich enough to solve. Along for the ride will be suspicions about how they use that power, what's going on behind closed doors. We don't believe what the banks say. We're wary of just what powerful governments are doing in back rooms. Some people suspect the oil companies secretly influence many of the world's events.

With Apple now the richest public company on earth, it unfortunately will be under the same microscopes. That's the way the world works.
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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

An accident from almost 25 years ago is the all that you've seen Exxon criticized for? That has no more to do with today's Exxon than Apple being saved from failing by Microsoft about that same time does now.

Without making any judgements or political statements, rather just an observation, the world's biggest companies will always be blamed for issues that people think they're big enough, powerful enough and rich enough to solve. Along for the ride will be suspicions about how the use that power, what's going on behind closed doors. We don't believe what the banks say. We're wary of just what powerful governments are doing in back rooms. Some people suspect the oil companies secretly influence many of the world's events.

With Apple now the richest public company on earth, it unfortunately will be under the same microscopes. That's the way the world works.

Ok, I'll agree with you on that.

p.s. It seemed like it was yesterday to me .... 25 years really!??
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post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secular Investor View Post

Yea, iPhones are made of solid steel LOL

They do have a stainless steel band... but you do know my comment was ironic hyperbole, right?

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post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by b9bot View Post

So to be fair, where are the other PC companies that use these same facilities? Why don't they open up? Apple isn't the only company using Foxconn and these other suppliers. Why don't the other companies pony up and make it right too. At least Apple is trying to do something about this while the others hide like scared mice.

So while I completely agree with you, why don't we work together (as in, you and I) to write an ePetition (petitiononline) to ask for all the other suppliers to open up and show us what their working conditions are like, or to get third party audits to reveal what their conditions are like.

b9bot If you don't want to work together to do this, would anyone like to?
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

They'll probably find some minor contradictions, etc. and Apple will be defined as liars, hiding the truth, white-washing, etc. Not like Apple can be 100% aware of whats going on at these suppliers at all times, who themselves no doubt try to hide things from Apple. It's tough enough to be aware of everything going on at your OWN company, let alone suppliers across the world, under a communist government, with hundreds of thousands of employees.

Meanwhile, everyone will ignore the elephant in the room, which is that Apple is the only company in the industry actually opening up its suppliers to inspections, audits, and to media outlets in this unprecedented way. Al the other big players are slinking in the dark, giddy at the attention Apple is getting, who is acting as the scapegoat for the entire industry (as well as other industries).

That's exactly my concern.

I've done quality audits or ordered outside audits for most of my career. I don't care how good you are, there are always things that can be improved. Even if Apple is an order of magnitude better than the competition, the press will jump on them over the issues that remain rather than recognizing that, in comparison, Apple is doing a great job.

And for the "if there are problems, Apple needs to do a better job" crowd, you've obviously never run a manufacturing facility. No matter how good of an effort you make, there are always issues. And if you get to the point that the issues become exceedingly rare, you typically tighten the standards to find even more things that you can improve. Plants with issues (but who have a plan to address them) do not concern me as much as plants which claim to have zero issues. The latter are simply burying their head in the sand and ignoring reality.
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post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

So while I completely agree with you, why don't we work together (as in, you and I) to write an ePetition (petitiononline) to ask for all the other suppliers to open up and show us what their working conditions are like, or to get third party audits to reveal what their conditions are like.

b9bot If you don't want to work together to do this, would anyone like to?

This whole electronics supply chain seems to be a cesspool of nastiness. Any light you can shed on these multinational gadget makers will be appreciated.

For the maximal good to emerge from this situation, it would be great to have companies in addition to Apple clean up their acts.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemacx View Post

This whole program isn´t about the press or the competitors that are doing close to nothing. It is about Apple´s customers and about Apple itself. About everyone that works for Apple Inc., be that directly or within supply and distribution.

It´s a message of corporate philosophy and mentality, which is embodied throughout and within the organism Apple as corporation and as continuum stands for, to all its constituents that make up the Apple cosmos. Be that as a designer, coder, engineer, sales & marketing, distributor, sales floor agent, pr & ad agent, xEO, xOO, janitor, security, assembly line worker etc.... and as USER and CUSTOMER. We ALL are Apple, even the Apple-Haters if not in particular them.

It is a statement that affection to detail is first and foremost affection to the individual using the product and that Apple is working hard to not loose the individual human being in the industrialized production process, which so often happens in most, if not all technical appliances that are mass manufactured (produced). That is what SJ & Apple distinguished from everyone else and why many flocked to Apple, even throughout its "Dark Ages", and continue to do. It is the appeal that Apple stands for.

Apple answers to and adresses the individual in the public, not the public "en large" and its modern day self-serving proponents in media with its warped and distorted perception of how things ought to be. Apple has a face and speaks to a face, not to "the public".

IMHO

That's all overly simplistic. Apple is being chastised in the press even though they're doing far more than anyone else and have the best conditions out there. Apple is probably losing customers over something where a rational customer would say "Apple is making a major effort to address the problem so I should continue to buy their products".

With the current media frenzy, the companies who do nothing are being rewarded while Apple is being penalized for being the best.
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post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's all overly simplistic. Apple is being chastised in the press even though they're doing far more than anyone else and have the best conditions out there. Apple is probably losing customers over something where a rational customer would say "Apple is making a major effort to address the problem so I should continue to buy their products".

With the current media frenzy, the companies who do nothing are being rewarded while Apple is being penalized for being the best.

Do we know what anyone else is doing? Do we even know Apple has the best conditions out there? The only ones I've read of recently are Apple, and I imagine the only ones you've read about too. For now they're the ones getting the attention, especially so since they've become the richest in the industry.
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post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Do we know what anyone else is doing? Do we even know Apple has the best conditions out there?

One can always assume that Apple is the best, no matter which metric is under examination.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Do we know what anyone else is doing? Do we even know Apple has the best conditions out there? The only ones I've read of recently are Apple, and I imagine the only ones you've read about too. For now they're the ones getting the attention, especially so since they've become the richest in the industry.

We do know that Apple is the only one who conducts audits. This was confirmed by several factories back when the suicides first became public knowledge.

Given that Apple is the only one who cares enough to conduct audits and to require the factories to improve, it's a pretty good bet that they're ahead of the game.
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post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

We do know that Apple is the only one who conducts audits. This was confirmed by several factories back when the suicides first became public knowledge.

Given that Apple is the only one who cares enough to conduct audits and to require the factories to improve, it's a pretty good bet that they're ahead of the game.

I certainly wasn't saying Apple isn't the most attentive to worker safety and well-being. Just felt it was premature to say definitively that they ARE the best when others haven't been profiled...

yet.
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post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

So what hasn't been blamed on Apple in the media lately? The extinction of the dinosaurs, the melting of the ice caps, the hole in the ozone layer, and gas prices going up. I'm sure I've missed a few...

Actually, technically, gas prices rising could be blamed on the dinosaurs.

Fucking dinosaurs.
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post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's all overly simplistic. Apple is being chastised in the press even though they're doing far more than anyone else and have the best conditions out there. Apple is probably losing customers over something where a rational customer would say "Apple is making a major effort to address the problem so I should continue to buy their products".

With the current media frenzy, the companies who do nothing are being rewarded while Apple is being penalized for being the best.


Apple is being chastised because of what it stands for. Media in the West are private owned companies, close to exclusively, which all go by the same rule. News=Profit=News, whether the actual info is verified or not is of lesser importance, as long as profits are ensured and potential compensation doesn´t eat into profits to deep. Just look at Murdoch and "News of the World", almost exemplary.

But my point is, that Apple gave this kind of response primarily to its dominion, as described above, and not to those "outside" of it, who get "their" answer along the way.

E.g., I spoke to some maintenance personnel recently, one guy being a stout Apple-bois as turned out later in the conversation, while the other, bitching about his droid-HTC flamed Apple for being proprietary and sniffing on user data, carrying an angry and grim expression on his face whilst at it. My reply:"... at least Apple doesn´t sell your your data as Google does, and Android is Google ..." He looked at me and his expression immediately softened, replying: "...Google has it anyway ...", NO flame, it almost sounded apologetic.

What sense does it make to answer to such a public (media)? None, and Apple didn´t. Media is worse than a pack of Hyenas tearing its prey apart, worth even less, but one can use it to communicate to his flock. Apple did, and so did the others, being the Hyenas, effectively communicating fear and submission

/chapel mode off
post #38 of 41
It looks like hard work, certainly not fun work, but I'm not seeing any sweat shop. The wages and living standards are magnitudes higher than many in China.

If Apple had a similar factory here, it would go out of business fairly quick. Between the unions, the EPA, taxes, and Obamacare, manufacturing electronics here is damn near impossible unless you want to pay $900 for an iPhone.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technarchy View Post

It looks like hard work, certainly not fun work, but I'm not seeing any sweat shop. The wages and living standards are magnitudes higher than many in China.

If Apple had a similar factory here, it would go out of business fairly quick. Between the unions, the EPA, taxes, and Obamacare, manufacturing electronics here is damn near impossible unless you want to pay $900 for an iPhone.

Nah, around 60$ to 70$ more.

Read this, pretty sound.

A friend of mine is in hardware, non-IT. He went to China because of cost. And China is dead-cheap on anything iron, bolts, screws etc. Turned out that when he needed a sample it took a few hours, in Germany several weeks. So he staid, enjoyed lower wages, ditched his wife and got chinese fish, still wonder if they too sample faster
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemacx View Post

Nah, around 60$ to 70$ more.

Read this, pretty sound.

A friend of mine is in hardware, non-IT. He went to China because of cost. And China is dead-cheap on anything iron, bolts, screws etc. Turned out that when he needed a sample it took a few hours, in Germany several weeks. So he staid, enjoyed lower wages, ditched his wife and got chinese fish, still wonder if they too sample faster

That's not correct. To say it's only $60-70 more is only focus on one small aspect of the product cycle which misses the point of people foolishly wanting the iPhone to be 100% American made. If you really want to bring jobs back to the US you need to bring every part of the manufacturing to the US. That means that all machines for automation are US designed and made. That means that every employee working on components that get shipped to a contracted facility for final assembly is US run. Most of that is literally impossible without a major retooling as many of the components and licensing are only outside the US.

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