Chinese environmental groups take issue with Apple over pollution

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new report from China has accused Apple of being unresponsive to concerns over pollution, as well as taking advantage of lax environmental protection rules in developing countries to manufacture its products.



Five Chinese non-governmental organizations released a report on Wednesday accusing Apple of taking "advantage of loopholes in developing countries' environmental management systems," according to the Financial Times.



Apple is said to have relented to the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a co-author of the report, only hours before the document was publicized, in a move characterized as "highly unusual" for the iPhone maker. Apple reportedly invited Ma Jun, director of the institute, to start a dialogue on the allegations.



The five groups behind the report have swayed 29 electronics companies to work with them on containing pollution in their overseas supply chain. But the institute has singled out Apple as being unresponsive.



Apple's decision to talk with the institute also reportedly came with a claim that some of the factories included on Ma's list where not suppliers for Apple products. Ma said Apple gave him no further details, however.



"Although Apple does not directly manufacture anything itself and does not disclose, with very few exceptions, the names of its suppliers, the Chinese environmental groups say they used public information and court documents to form a list of more than 20 Apple suppliers with environmental violations to their name," the Times report said. "These suppliers also work for other companies."



The same consortium accused Apple in January of ignoring health concerns and failing to properly oversee its suppliers. Three-dozen environmental groups from China published that prior report, entitled "The Other Side of Apple," which ranked the Cupertino, Calif., company as the least responsive among more than 25 technology companies surveyed for details on working conditions.







Concerns over Apple's overseas supply chain are not new. This May, an explosion at a Foxconn-run iPad 2 polishing plant killed three people and injured another 15.



Foxconn's assembly factories in China have been the subject of perhaps the most criticism of Apple's supply chain. The iPhone maker was even forced to make a public statement last year after a number of suicides occurred at the main Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China.



Last year, another incident with supplier Wintek led to bad press for Apple, after dozens of workers filed a lawsuit claiming they were poisoned by the chemical n-hexane while cleaning glass iPhone screens. The workers alleged that a Wintek factory manager in China forced them to use n-hexane instead of alcohol because the chemical dries faster and leaves fewer streaks on glass.



Apple conducts an annual audit of its overseas partners and their factories. This year, that audit found one facility in the Far East that employed 42 underage workers, prompting Apple to terminate business with the facility.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    Yes, I'm sure Apple is the cause of Chinese pollution. Bring the jobs back to the US!
  • Reply 2 of 65
    gustavgustav Posts: 819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IronHeadSlim View Post


    Yes, I'm sure Apple is the cause of Chinese pollution. Bring the jobs back to the US!



    Uhm... you do know that Apple used to manufacture all around the world, right? I believe my first Mac was made in Cork, Ireland.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Is China sure the pollution is NOT coming friom all rthose FAKE Apple Stores pushing all those PIRATED software and hardware?



    Maybe China's EPA needs to investigate there first!

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  • Reply 4 of 65
    I didn't mean those particular jobs but jobs in general. Sorry for the confusion.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post


    Uhm... you do know that Apple used to manufacture all around the world, right? I believe my first Mac was made in Cork, Ireland.



  • Reply 5 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post


    Uhm... you do know that Apple used to manufacture all around the world, right? I believe my first Mac was made in Cork, Ireland.



    Um, you do know that Apple computers haven't been manufactured anywhere outside of Asia in 20 years right?



    On topic.....China has environmental groups???
  • Reply 6 of 65
    This is funny coming from the #1 polluting country. Blame other for their lack of vision and responsibility.... Haven't heard anything on the news that they are changing laws regarding the hundred of chemical plants polluting or for strict laws on car emissions which by the way has every car company in the world making cars plus their own brands.

    I admire China cause I think they have opened themselves for better things in business, infrastructure, education but they still lack some core values....
  • Reply 7 of 65
    Pot, meet kettle.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    Oh good another environment group that hopes to use apple as a publicity bandwagon, by specifically accusing apple of things every company does. I think it?s good we have organisations that highlight issues like this, but don?t just highlight one company when the practice is widespread.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    What I got from this article is that they really take issue with Foxconn, but it's more sensational to just blame Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 65
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by raymccrae View Post


    Oh good another environment group that hopes to use apple as a publicity bandwagon, by specifically accusing apple of things every company does. I think it?s good we have organisations that highlight issues like this, but don?t just highlight one company when the practice is widespread.



    I 100% agree with you, it's just that it's human nature to have a scapegoat. Just like when the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping opponents when it was/is widespread in the NFL, or Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens being the poster boys for steroids in baseball when everyone was taking them. Or how Bush was labelled an idiot when his advisors and staff probably convinced him that things were worse than they were. It's never any one person or company's fault, but someone has to be the whipping boy. It's just how things work.
  • Reply 11 of 65
    [QUOTE



    On topic.....China has environmental groups???[/QUOTE]



  • Reply 12 of 65
    Just got back from shanghai this morning, factories surely do produce majority of the Pollution, however just on the streets from what I saw, there is pollution everywhere from vehicles, people smoking, trash. From what I can tell their EPA laws are lax.

    Just before expo 2010, they stopped factory work for a few months and minimized automobile traffic, cleared up the skies a lot. But it's not like that anymore

    Gov needs to enforce regulations on factories to start off but good luck trying in a developing nation that is growing.
  • Reply 13 of 65
    Funny, with all the sarcasm, no one seems to think that US has outsourced a significant amount of pollution to China and many other developing countries.
  • Reply 14 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by btonedem View Post


    Funny, with all the sarcasm, no one seems to think that US has outsourced a significant amount of pollution to China and many other developing countries.



    USA is perfect.



    /s



    seriously though something needs to be done period. outsourcing is killing the USA and undeveloped nations. jobs are low, profits are high, and we live in an unsustainable bubble.



    granted this screams pr stunt but there is a fundamental truth beneath this bs.
  • Reply 15 of 65
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    The original report mentioned "29 big electronic brands", which would seem to imply Apple stood out from the other "brands" as being particularly unresponsive. That Apple has influence over the factories that produce the brand's products goes without saying. If Apple pressured the factories producing their goods to be more environmentally-friendly I can't see that as a bad thing. But with pollution controls come added costs. Certainly possible that the drive for profits overrides concerns over pollutants in a foreign country. It's not as tho that would be the first time that's happened.



    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e7cad0f4-d...0144feab49a.ht



    Personally I think the Chinese should be applauded for making some effort at mitigating the damage being done to their country while producing the products westerners can't seem to get enough of, as long as the price is right.



    Any efforts at protecting the health of it's citizens should be encouraged. If Apple can help apply pressure in that regard IMO it's the very least they can do.
  • Reply 16 of 65
    robrerobre Posts: 56member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IronHeadSlim View Post


    Yes, I'm sure Apple is the cause of Chinese pollution. Bring the jobs back to the US!



    I know I exaggerate a bit - but my first thought was, "Love it." Years ago companies started to manufacture in places where the cost-of-manufacture was lower than in the U.S. There is a certain threshold that when reached, companies start looking at pulling back. Has China reached that point - were manufacturing cost is, let's say, to pick a number, 70 percent of the cost in the U.S.?

    If not, they are closing the gap really fast. Foxconn recognizes that danger. It is thinking of adding its of robots to their lines. Is a Chinese robot really that much cheaper than one that "works" in the US? What if Apple would quietly install robies in their old set of manufacturing buildings in Sacramento, CA. I give them (the Chinese) five more years to have a run with it. After that who knows. Can't wait to see on the label "Designed by Apple in California, assembled in California."
  • Reply 17 of 65
    If china was held to the same standards as the US on this stuff, maybe it wouldn't be quite so attractive for outsourcing The only reason the US ever sent stuff over there was for cost...and not worrying about pollution is a cost cutting measure.
  • Reply 18 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post


    If china was held to the same standards as the US on this stuff, maybe it wouldn't be quite so attractive for outsourcing The only reason the US ever sent stuff over there was for cost...and not worrying about pollution is a cost cutting measure.



    which brings back the point: how can people so vigorously defend and support corporations which do not give a damn about people other than as a means to increase profit one way or another.
  • Reply 19 of 65
    markivmarkiv Posts: 180member
    This pot calling the kettle black. It's a fact that local industry in China does far more pollution than Apple or any other industry that is set up in China would. It wasn't so long ago when there was pond (or a lake I forget) of methane in China that was causing some serious pollution to the environment. Why does China care about pollution its not as if they care about human rights or freedom of their citizens (lets not pretend that China has any human approach towards its citizens).
  • Reply 20 of 65
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post




    On topic.....China has environmental groups???



    Yes that was my first thought ... and Apple is considered a priority? I hope this isn't the first move in a Chinese anti-Apple move to followed by legalized clones.
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