updated 09:45 am EST, Wed November 16, 2011
NGOs split on outcome of event
On Tuesday, Apple met five Chinese environmental groups at its Beijing offices in order to talk supplier pollution problems, reports observe. The event is said to have lasted three and a half hours, and been attended by five Apple representatives as well as nine representatives from the environmental NGOs. The latter, however, are split on whether the outcome of the event was beneficial.
EnviroFriends director Li Li says she was happy that Apple took time out for the meeting, but complains that the company is continuing to foist responsibility onto suppliers, and lacks a sincere attitude. The company is also said to have admitted that 15 out of 27 identified polluters were indeed Apple suppliers, but refused to say which names were right. "Apple said they had already spoken to 11 supply firms and asked them to reform, and they're in the process of initiating communications with the other four," according to Li.
Another NGO member, Feng Yongfeng, does mention that Apple confessed to not placing enough emphasis on the environment, and promised to include environmental factors in future selections of suppliers. The meeting has been called a "major step forward" by Ma Jun, the head of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. "They [Apple] asked these companies to take corrective plans and give a timeline, and Apple will verify whether all these issues have been resolved," he notes.
For its part Apple has issued only a general statement. "Apple is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply chain. 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," says spokeswoman Carolyn Wu. Known Apple suppliers such as Foxconn and Wintek have, however, regularly been accused of violating those standards.