Report puts Apple last on labor, environmental issues in China

report puts apple last on labor environmental issues in china supplier responsibility  jan 2011

A consortium of 36 Chinese environmental groups has published a report (Chinese, PDF) that ranks Apple last among 29 multinational companies in terms of dealing with the environmental impact of its operations in China as well as the environmental impact of its activities. Among the issues the groups tried to raise with Apple is an incident were 49 workers were exposed to toxins at Lianjian Technologies, a subsidiary of Wintek that makes touchscreens used in Apple devices. According to the report, Apple failed to respond to most inquiries about worker health or environmental matters, and would only occasionally respond that it could neither confirm nor deny that a particular company was one of its suppliers.

The metrics of the report are based on companies’ responsiveness to issues raised by the groups; the report cites Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp, Hitachi, HP, Altatel-Lucent, and BT as examples of companies that responded quickly to the groups’ inquiries and took some steps to improve oversight at suppliers or alter their practices. However, Apple wasn’t the only company to take heat: the report also singles out SingTel, LG, Ericsson, and Nokia as being unresponsive and not taking any actions to correct problems.

Apple has previously been criticized for working conditions at Foxconn after a series of employee suicides earlier this year, including a worker who committed suicide after reported mistreatment and beatings over a lost iPhone 4 prototype. A few years ago, Apple stepped up its supervision and inspections of Chinese suppliers after reports of poor living and working conditions at Foxconn.

The incident at LianJian took place in 2009; according to reports in Chinese media, 49 workers were hospitalized for exposure to the cleaning agent n-hexane; that number was later increased to 62. According to reports by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, several women involved in the incident claimed to have been exposed making components for Apple’s iPhone, and were hospitalized for over six months.

Apple has had no official comment on the report, but in a statement distributed via email an Apple spokesperson noted Apple “is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility” throughout its supply chain. The company’s published 2010 report on supplier responsibility (PDF) says Apple conducted audits of 102 supplier facilities in 2009 and had uncovered a number of issues, including use of underage workers, employees exceeding allowed work limits, improper disposal of hazardous waste, and falsified records.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Smart Home

Ecobee leverages humor in a heated discussion with climate change skeptics

Ecobee cranked up the heat on climate change doubters. In observance of Earth Day, Ecobee and ad agency DCX released video of a social experiment that tested the effectiveness of humor in easing tension during discussions with skeptics.
Emerging Tech

How MIT hacked horticulture to cultivate a hyper-flavorful basil plant

At MIT, Caleb Harper used his personal food computers to alter the climate in which he grew basil. Exposing it light for 24 hours a day changed the flavor profile of the plant, making it spicier and stronger.
Deals

Apple’s MacBook laptop is on sale for just $800 for a limited time

If you have your heart set on a MacOS-powered laptop, B&H has a sale on Apple's MacBook that takes the price down to $800. Only select models are on sale right now, but you can score up to a $600 savings if you act quickly.
Mobile

You've spent a grand, now don't skimp on a screen protector for your iPhone X

Wondering how to protect your new iPhone X against scratches and drops? Look no further than our list of the best iPhone X screen protectors, which includes screen protectors designed to reinforce your phone's front panel.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for April 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for April 2019.
Mobile

Keep your new iPad (2018) sparkling with the best screen protectors

Your iPad sports a stunning 9.7-inch screen and you'll want it to stay that way. The best iPad (2018) screen protectors guard against cracks, scratches, and even smudging from your fingers. Check out our top picks here.
Mobile

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.
Mobile

Charge and sync with the best Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad

If you’re looking to replace a lightning cable, or in need of something a little longer or tougher, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of our favorite cables for the iPhone and other iOS devices.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Mobile

The Best iPhone 7 battery cases to give your phone some extra juice

The iPhone 7 doesn't have terrible battery life, but you never know when you'll need to juice up on the go. To help, here are the best iPhone 7 battery cases that can keep your smartphone charged and ready for long-term use.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.