Apple has been no stranger to environmental concerns regarding their manufacturing and supply chain abroad, most recently a report from five independent environmental organizations in China in August accused the company of taking “advantage of the loopholes in developing countries environmental management systems” and awarding contracts to known polluters. Yesterday Apple responded to the accusations in a three-hour meeting with five Chinese environmental NGOs, admitting fifteen of their current manufacturing partners are contributing to pollution in surrounding areas by agreeing to perform audits of the companies. This followed several meetings with Apple following the group’s report in August, including one with Apple execs in Cupertino.
According to a report from WSJ, Ma Jun, of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs in Beijing, had this to say following the meeting:
“This is a major step forward… They asked these companies to take corrective plans and give a timeline, and Apple will verify whether all these issues have been resolved.”
As a result of the meeting, Apple is apparently vowing to improve its environmental standards within its supply chain, a move that could not only alter the manufacturing process of components, but also impact contracts awarded to manufacturers and suppliers in the future. According to the report, to avoid issues like massive amounts of waste water, Apple will encourage alternative manufacturing processes for components such as printed circuit boards. Apple also confirmed that this and other environmental concerns will play a role when awarding future contracts to suppliers.