Chinese environmentalists have accused Apple of allowing the companies that manufacture its iPhones, iPads and other devices to heavily pollute the country, reports Reuters. In response, Apple has asked the group to hold talks on the matter.
According to a 46-page report released Wednesday by the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), along with other nongovernmental sponsors, toxic material from “suspected Apple suppliers” have begun to destroy local environments, and are perilously close to encroaching upon surrounding communities.
“The large volume of discharge in Apple’s supply chain greatly endangers the public’s health and safety,” the report reads. IPE says it has found a “sharp increase” in cancer rates among villagers who live near manufacturing zones.
The report goes on to explain that waste water and harmful gas being released by companies like accessory manufacturer Kaedar Electronics and circuit board maker Unimicron have begun to cause panic amongst local residents.
The environmentalist coalition says Apple is eschewing its corporate responsibility by knowingly employing suppliers that fail to comply with China’s environmental laws, and emit harmful pollution into the environment and expose the population to dangerous heavy metals and other toxins. Apple has chosen to “take advantage of loopholes” in China’s regulations in order to “grab super profits,” the report said.
Apple responded to the report today, saying that it is devoted to “driving the highest standards of social responsibility” in its choice of suppliers.
“We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made,” the Cupertino, California-based company said.
Apple reportedly responded to IPE in a letter, which said it took their concerns seriously, but disagreed with some of their evidence and conclusions. Apple said it would like to have a “private conference call” with IPE and the report’s other sponsors to discuss the matter.
“Several suppliers are not in our supply chain,” Apple’s letter reads. “We would be interested in hearing more specifics on what you have discovered about these suppliers.”
IPE and other groups have blasted Apple’s manufacturing practices in the past, but this is the first time Apple has responded to the criticism, which has encouraged IPE.
“This is a very positive sign,” said Wang Jing Jing, the vice director of IPE. “We are very willing to communicate with them.”
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