Apple came under fire this week by Chinese environmental groups who called the company the “least responsive” among companies it contacted. However, there is more to the story than meets the eye.
[ad#Google Adsense 300x250 in story]The group accuses Apple of not responding to its requests concerning problems at its suppliers, but the fact is, Apple did respond. In fact, the environmental groups notes numerous email responses from Apple in its own report.
What’s more interesting is that Apple is being criticized by the group for doing business with Chinese companies when they don’t know for sure that they are part of Apple’s supply chain or not.
Apple has one of the most robust corporate environmental sites among technology companies. They list its total carbon footprint, manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities.
What’s more, Apple also publicly gives information on how it calculates things like its carbon footprint, so there is nothing secretive going on.
Apple also publishes its “Supplier Responsibility 2010 Progress Report.” This report outlines what it expects of its suppliers and the rigorous regulations that suppliers must maintain in order to work with Apple.
“Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base,” Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet, told The Loop. “The companies we do business with must provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”
Apple conducts audits of its facilities to ensure compliance. According to the latest supplier report, as of December 2009, the company audited 190 facilities located in China, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.
“When a violation is found, Apple requires the facility to implement a corrective action plan that addresses not only the specific violation, but also the underlying management system needed to prevent its recurrence,” Apple writes in its Supplier Responsibility report. “We track completion of each corrective action to closure, with an expectation that all violations will be corrected as quickly as possible, but not later than 90 days after the audit.”
The criticisms of Apple appear to have nothing to do with its environmental policies, or the audits it does on its suppliers. Judging by the report, the Chinese environmental group doesn’t know for sure who is in Apple’s supply chain and they don’t like the email responses from the company.
Hardly seems worth ranking Apple lowest among technology companies.