Apple criticized for China supply chain pollution

“Chinese environmental groups accused Apple Inc. of turning a blind eye as its suppliers pollute the country, the latest criticism of the technology company’s environmental record,” Michael Martina reports for Reuters.

“Toxic discharges from ‘suspected Apple suppliers’ have been encroaching on local communities and environments, a coalition of environmental organisations said on Wednesday in a 46-page report alleging efforts to conceal pollution,” Martina reports. “Widespread environmental degradation has accompanied China’s breakneck economic growth, and the government has been criticized for failing to take steps to curb pollution.”

“The report alleges that 27 suspected Apple suppliers had severe pollution problems, from toxic gases to heavy metal sludge. In one case, the report said, a nearby village experienced a ‘phenomenal rise in cases of cancer,'” Martina reports. “Apple has decided to ‘take advantage of loopholes’ in developing countries’ environmental management systems to ‘grab super profits,’ it said. Apple does not disclose who its suppliers are. The environmental groups said public documents and five months of research and field investigation led to the findings in the report.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Find out about Apple and the Environment here. Find out more about Supplier Responsibility at Apple here.


[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” for the heads up.]


  1. Same old stupid whining “blame game”.

    The fault lies not with Apple, but the chinese companies in China that Apple MUST do business with…to do business. The ultimate blame lies with the Chinese government which allows the toxic practices. But I understand why they can’t openly put the blame on their own government where it belongs…out of fear of their own government.

  2. The Chinese government has recently been cracking down on China’s public-interest lawyers, writers, and activists. Maybe China’s nascent environmental community is looking for a (foreign) target that won’t trigger the wrath of their dictators.

    1. Chinese environmentalists: You acknowledge your own criminal government’s complicity it polluting the hell out of your country. So dare to stand up to YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT!

  3. Oh for f#%^’s sake, environmental laws in China are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency of China, not Apple. Besides the factory manufactures more than just Apple products so is she going to call HP, Dell, Acer, et al, to account. Another f%^#ing wooly headed environmentalist.

    1. Ballmer’s left nut:
      Wednesday, August 24, 2011 – 11:59 pm

      So I take it that Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple to take up the reins of running things back in Syria as its next dictator after Assad.

    1. Yes. I have traveled around China a fair bit the last few years and there are many signs of citizen support for higher environmental standards. The air over Beijing is still terrible, but the government is taking visible steps to address it and pollution elsewhere in the country.

  4. Is MDN inadvertently supplying us with an unusually high number of antiApple articles today or is it a reflection of a lot of Anti-Apple sentiment oozing from the woodwork all of a sudden.

    WTF is going on?

  5. Welcome to capitalism China, you have you own greenpeace now.
    First of all, those “Apple Suppliers” are CHINESSE, they are not apple employees and they don’t belong to apple, THEY BELONG TO CHINA.
    Second, they are also suppliers for Samsung, Dell and LENOVO (yes, a Chinese company)

    So just like greenpeace, are you just hanging on Apple’s success to make people notice you? That is so low Chinese greepeace.

  6. I wonder when the green and environmental groups who are so fond of wind power are going to launch an enquiry into the vast area of toxic pollution in China caused by the extraction and refining of the rare earths required for the huge Neodymium magnets used in the turbines. That would be a much more valuable use of their time than sniping at Apple, but I can’t see it happening, somehow.

    1. If you’re talking about the hidden effects of Wind Power, research the millions of birds and bats that are killed yearly by these mass instruments of destruction.

      Every bird migration route in North America is littered with these damn Bird Meat-grinders.

  7. Shameless. That there are environmental protests within the borders of our beloved neighbour, the democratic socialist Peoples Republic of China speaks to the corrosive corruption that capitalism has seeped into the Communist ideal for which we strive to achieve.

    In the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea, we have no such problems. Environmentalists are shown for what they are: agents of capitalism, routinely rounded up and sent to communist peoples re-education camps (like my personal favorite, Camp 22) where they belong.

    It saddens me that my neighbours will not act aggressively to smash these environmental terrorists. I would act with no mercy to assure that word of the Dear Leader is followed exactly.

    All hail our glorious communist revolution!

  8. Groups put pressure on Apple because at least Apple won’t round them up and put them in jail. Instead they lean on Apple, hoping Apple will then be more stringent with their suppliers.

    Anyone living outside of China should be happy for heightened environmentalist pressure on China, even if Apple is stuck as an intermediary. Pressure on Chinese suppliers to raise wages, raise environmental protections, etc. (even if suppliers move plants inland, at least that still increases their costs by adding transportation and logistical expenses) acts to level the playing field with more developed countries and decreases pressure on US and European manufacturers to move jobs to China.

  9. Apple, like any other company, has a responsibility to help their suppliers achieve worlds best practice whether it be in relation to pollution, toxic waste or workers rights and conditions.
    It’s a cop out for any company or its supporters to let these western firms off scott free. These companies CAN do something – the fact is they choose not to with devastating consequences.
    Steve Jobs should be ashamed of himself.

    1. Many other companies use the same factories and suppliers as Apple does. Why does Greenpeace get a couple of Chinese residents to blow the whistle on Apple and no other electronics companies?

      Stuart, you should be ashamed of the organization that paid for the computer you just used.

  10. Tell me, who is responsible for the state of the environment in the USA? The local government? The States? The Federal Government? The polluting factory owners?

    None of the above. It’s the largest electronics company in the world, that’s who.

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