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Apple in talks with Chinese environmental groups

Apple has been deemed the worst offender when it comes to flouting occupational safety regulations by a coalition of Chinese environmental groups.

Included in this coalition is Beijing-based environmental NGO, Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs, who released a damning 26-page report called “The Other Side of Apple” (in Chinese). The report apparently documents cases where Apple’s mainland suppliers violated environmental and health protections, reports PC Mag.

Following the accusations, Apple has decided to go into talks with the environmental groups.

Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, Ma Jun, praised the talks as a “step forward” but criticised Apple for refusing to identify its suppliers in China — a policy pressure groups say enables the electronics giant to evade scrutiny.

“This was the first time that they sat down with all five of us to discuss the report, so this was a step forward,” said Ma.

The damning report first emerged at the same time as Apple’s earnings report, which boasted an aggressive China strategy after launching retail stores, an e-store, and App Store in the country.

According to authors of the report, this strategy came at the expense of worker safety, “While Apple’s been busy updating their sales records, its employees have been enduring poisonous chemicals, with their rights and dignity being seriously trespassed on and the surrounding areas and environment being polluted by dirty water and emissions,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Despite this they consider that the pollution from these 15 companies is a commercial secret. So we don’t know the names of the 15 companies and we can’t verify the steps they are making to curb pollution.”

In the report, the environmental groups alleged that companies they believed to be supplying Apple were discharging toxic substances that were harming workers and local residents.

Apple, whose iPhones and iPads are hugely popular among China’s growing middle class, declined to comment on the meeting directly.

Apple has in the past confirmed that two Chinese factories, one owned by Taiwanese technology giant FoxConn and the other by WinTek, also a Taiwanese company, were making its products.

It acknowledged the FoxConn plant after a series of worker suicides there and has said that last year 137 workers at the WinTek plant suffered “adverse health effects” when exposed to a chemical substance called N-hexane, used to clean screens.

“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,” said company spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.

Author | Mich Atagana

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then decided that law might be the best place for her talents, but with too many litigation classes missed in favour of feminist... More
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  • theclash150

    Piracy does not equate to lost sales. It never has and it never will.

  • Hi there, thanks for the comment.

    So you don’t think some people who might have been tempted to buy the game will now just simply pirate it?

  • theclash150

    For the Xbox 360 specifically I know that people who are just now hearing about pirating 360 games will not have the supplies/knowledge of how to flash their Xbox drive in order to play burnt games. They simply won’t be able to pirate the game even if they want to. On the other hand, all this news about Halo 4 leaking is a very substantial amount of PR for Microsoft and 343.

  • Neil

    I hate piracy, always have, always will. Yes though, I have downloaded a few songs and games off the internet from time to time BUT not music or the games we have today. Those games and songs don’t appear to be on itunes or on CD anymore – 1900s to 1950s, the same for a game such as Heart of Darkness – released in 1998 for the PC and PlayStation or maybe its because I haven’t looked in the right place.
    I understand that every game company spends thousands, millions even – Star Wars The Old Republic spent almost 150 – 200 million, making it the most expensive video game ever developed. Where do they get all that money to pay back the people that worked long and hard on developing that video game? From the gamers that buy the game. Or at least I think anyway…
    If you were a true halo fan and respect the the hard work that 343 industries and Microsoft have done for us, pay them back by PURCHASING their game instead of PIRATING it. The same for music Artists such as Gaga, or *cough* Bieber *cough* Although I can talk as I said I downloaded music or a game now and again, but that’s only when I don’t know where to find them because I like playing oldies.

  • Shann

    its halo. ill pirate it. clock it. Buy it. clock it again. then multiplayer the shit out of it!! ……my girlfriends going to leave me november…

  • I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that Microsoft want to pitch their marketing campaign on the fact Halo 4 is available for free.

    It might not hurt sales in SA (where there is a smaller community of modders flashing the firmware) but around the world, there are thousand of modders willing to do the dirty work for would-be gamers hoping to save cash.

  • flakcannon

    another victory to piracy…hehe they think they will get rid of piracy when they stop porting the games to pc like gears of war and halo… i hope they learned something any way….and dont worry about microsoft it wont bankrupt xD

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