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Apple to allow independent environmental audits of its supply chain

post #1 of 5
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Apple has signaled that it plans to allow independent environmental audits of factories run by its component suppliers in China, where environmental groups claim toxic chemicals are being used.

Apple agreed to the independent audits in late January, Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, told USA Today. The iPhone maker reportedly decided to allow the audits after environmental groups documented hazardous waste leaks and the use of toxic chemicals at suspected Apple suppliers.

The reviews will begin as soon as March, and will involve two of Apple's 14 suppliers that the company itself did environmental audits on last year. But the new, independent audits could expand to even more of Apple's partners in China in the future.

The independent reviews will reportedly focus on various environmental issues, and aim to address whether Apple's suppliers are in fact discharging toxic waste.

Last year's IPE report, which made the original allegations about toxic waste, accused Apple of working with 24 different companies. Apple has confirmed it works with at least seven of them, including Foxconn and Wintek.

In addition to the audits, Apple also indicated to Ma that the company will rely on a pollution database on the IPE's website to monitor its supply chain partners.




The news comes a day after Apple updated its environmental website to reflect the company's green initiatives for power at its new data center in Maiden, N.C. That center will be aided by a 20-megawatt, 100-acre solar farm, as well as a5-megawatt fuel cell installation. The center itself is the only in its class to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

The environmental audits will be in addition to the worker-centric reviews currently underway by the Fair Labor Association. The FLA has been touring Foxconn's Chinese facilities to investigate claims of low wages and forced overtime in Apple's supply chain.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 5
I just hope that they find a way to compare Apple's performance to everyone else's. If Apple is the only one publicizing its audits, it can look bad - even if they're miles ahead of everyone else. There are always going to be problems, but a comparison will show who does a better job. If no one else participates, viewers will only see the problems.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #3 of 5
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I just hope that they find a way to compare Apple's performance to everyone else's. If Apple is the only one publicizing its audits, it can look bad - even if they're miles ahead of everyone else. There are always going to be problems, but a comparison will show who does a better job. If no one else participates, viewers will only see the problems.

Direct comparisons may only be misleading and even meaningless. It's improvement that counts. Apple's initiative will put a burden on all the others to make a similar effort. Tim Cook talks transparency. Other electronics manufacturers can only drag their feet at their peril. This is the pathway to make things better.

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I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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post #4 of 5
Let us always remember that it is the suppliers that are responsible for any indiscretions. These same suppliers make components for other companies. You can always expect Countries that do not have some government oversite or laws in place to control these abuses to be somewhat guilty of taking all the shortcuts possible.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Direct comparisons may only be misleading and even meaningless. It's improvement that counts. Apple's initiative will put a burden on all the others to make a similar effort. Tim Cook talks transparency. Other electronics manufacturers can only drag their feet at their peril. This is the pathway to make things better.

I would welcome Apple's actions putting pressure on other manufacturers (as Apple could take a highly visible leadership roll in making its supply chain as green as possible). I would also welcome an equivalent reaction to Apple's efforts around insuring that their Chinese manufacturing facilities don't abuse their workers (and I should note those two areas are strongly linked).

However, I fear that "Apple rules" will prevail and all of this will begin and end with what Apple does. There might be some muttering here and there about "following Apple's example" (if in fact Apple proves to be sincere in their efforts) but by and large a suspect the relevant activists will high five one another over having bagged a big one, issue press releases about how their tireless efforts forced Apple to clean up its act, and move on to the next cause.

I think Apple would be smart to shame the competition into joining them in giving environmental and worker's rights issues some priority. It's good PR, and to the extent that other companies are actually forced to change things (and here Apple could make transparency a big selling point) it would be good for all of us.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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