Apple criticized for environmental, safety standards in China

On may 25, students in Hong Kong burn Apple products in effigy to protest conditions at Chinese factories that make them.On may 25, students in Hong Kong burn Apple products in effigy to protest conditions at Chinese factories that make them. STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Chinese environmental groups criticize Apple’s manufacturing
  • Report says workers for suppliers have been poisoned, disabled
  • Apple spokeswoman denies claims, says suppliers are monitored and audited

(Mashable) — Environmental groups in China called out Apple for poor green and safety standards in its Chinese supply chain, agencies report.

The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) has — together with other environmentalist groups — published a report detailing the alleged malpractice in Apple’s supply chain, which resulted in some workers being poisoned and disabled, and communities being polluted.

The report places Apple at the bottom of a list of 29 technology manufacturers, and Nokia, Sony, Ericsson and LG were also criticized for their poor practices. On the other hand, the report praises Hewlett-Packard, Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp, Hitachi, BT and Alcatel-Lucent for taking measures to improve conditions or supervision of manufacturing in their supply chain.

"(Apple) only care about the price and quality (of their products) and not the environmental and social responsibility issues. In some ways they drive the suppliers to cut corners to win their contracts," said IPE’s Ma Jun.

This is not the first time Apple has been criticized for conditions in its Chinese supply chain. A string of suicides at Foxconn, the Chinese factory that manufactures electronic devices for Apple and other major consumer electronic brands, raised questions about the working conditions there.

Apple has denied IPE’s claims, asserting that all its Chinese suppliers are monitored and audited regularly. "Apple has a vigorous auditing programme that investigates suppliers and other parts of the business chain. we audit throughout… we actually have had an extensive auditing programme since 2006," Apple’s spokeswoman told AFP.

Apple has recently reported record-breaking profits for Q1 2011, having sold more than 7 million iPads and 16.2 million iPhones with a revenue of more than $26 billion.

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Apple criticized for environmental, safety standards in China


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