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Allegations of pollution in Apple's supply chain in China - Sep 2011

On 31 Augst 2011, a group of Chinese environmental NGOs - Friends of Nature, Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), Green Beagle, Envirofriends, and Green Stone Environmental Action Network - published a report, "The Other Side of Apple II: Pollution Spreads through Apple's Supply Chain" [PDF] alleging that Apple has taken advantage of "loopholes in environmental management" of developing countries and continues to use Chinese suppliers that are known to cause serious pollution in Chinese water bodies.  The report follows the coalitions's first report on Apple, "The Other Side of Apple", issued in January 2011, which focused on labour as well as environmental concerns.  In an interview with China Dialogue that also appeared on 31 August, IPE's Director, Ma Jun, explains that a month following the release of the first report,  "Apple published a progress report on supplier responsibility admitting that 137 workers in its supply chain had been poisoned, but said nothing about environmental issues – so we decided to do more work on Apple’s environmental pollution."

In the China Dialogue interview, headlined with the quote, "'Apple has made no progress at all'", Ma Jun explains the coalition's method for undertaking its investigation of Apple's supply chain, and claims that since the release of the first report "Apple’s behaviour hasn't improved at all." 

In September, IPE released two videos, "Pollution Spreads through Apple's Supply Chain" and "Face the Reality", each available in both English and Chinese, with interviews of people allegedly harmed by Apple's suppliers' discharge of untreated toxic waste into local water bodies. (See below for videos.)

On 26 August IPE sent a letter to Apple.  On 31 August, the day of the release of the Apple II report, Bill Frederick, Vice President of Apple Supplier Responsibility, sent an email reponse to IPE [PDF].  On the same day, IPE sent its reply to Bill Frederick.  

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Apple to respond to these items.  In response, a spokesperson for Apple's supply chain referred us to its Supplier Responsibility Report (Feb 2011).

 

News coverage of "The Other Side of Apple II):

- "Chinese Environmental Group Criticizes Apple", Loretta Chao, Wall Street Journal [USA] 31 Aug 2011
- "Apple attacked over pollution in China", Leslie Hook & Kathrin Hille, Financial Times [UK] 31 Aug 2011

Pollution Spreads through Apple's Supply Chain (English):

Pollution Spreads through Apple's Supply Chain (Chinese):

Face the Reality (English):

Face the Reality (Chinese):

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Article
28 September 2011

Allegations of pollution in Apple's supply chain in China

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 31 Augst 2011, a group of Chinese environmental NGOs...released..."The Other Side of Apple II: Pollution Spreads through Apple's Supply Chain" alleging that Apple...continues to use Chinese suppliers that are known to cause serious pollution in...

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Company response
28 September 2011

Response by Apple: New video features people who say they were harmed by pollution from Apple's suppliers - NGO director Ma Jun says Apple has "not improved at all".

Read full response

Article
31 August 2011

Apple attacked over pollution in China

Author: Leslie Hook & Kathrin Hille, Financial Times [UK]

[E]nvironmental groups have accused Apple suppliers…of systemic pollution…In a report…five Chinese non-governmental organisations said…[Apple] was using suppliers with public records of environmental violations and taking “advantage of the loopholes...

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Article
31 August 2011

Chinese Environmental Group Criticizes Apple

Author: Loretta Chao, Wall Street Journal

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, said the Beijing-based advocacy group found polluted water and was told of hazardous gas in areas surrounding plants in China believed to be Apple suppliers. In a report on its...

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1 February 2011

[PDF] Apple Supplier Responsibility - 2011 Progress Report

Author: Apple

Apple is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base. We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible...

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