Environmental pollution in China
In a report, published on August 31, 2011, five Chinese NGOs claim that Apple is using suppliers with public records of environmental pollution, profiting from the loopholes in developing and threshold countries’ environmental management systems. Amongst others, the company’s suppliers apparently contaminated the environment with heavy metals.
One example named in the report is Foxconn, which is located in the Northern Province Shanxi, where locals need to have their windows closed due to the exhaust gases. The company Win Technology, which produces the touch-sensitive screens for the iPhone 4, is also listed.
The NGOs’ aim was to convince 29 global electronics brands to co-work with them on limiting environmental pollution within their supply chain. Apple, however, was excluded as it did not respond.
Shortly before the report’s publication, though, Apple made contact with Mr. Ma, one of the report’s chief authors, telling him that some of the listed factories were not among its suppliers but also did not give him detailed information. The NGOs identified more than 20 Apple suppliers causing environmental devastation. These suppliers also work for other companies.
As international electronics brands outsource at least part of their manufacturing and because of the intense competition between suppliers and lax government regulation, global companies are the most able to influence their suppliers and thus have the responsibility to do so.
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