Apple tests suppliers' green credentials

14th February 2012


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  • Management ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Supply chain ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Manufacturing

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IEMA

Technology giant Apple suspended business with two suppliers in 2011 after discovering they were in breach of environmental regulations

Apple’s 2012 supplier responsibility progress report reveals the results of 229 audits examining suppliers’ performance against its environmental, safety and ethical requirements and a further 14 specialist environmental assessments.

It shows that only 68% of the facilities audited were managing hazardous waste and air emissions in accordance with local legislation and Apple’s supplier code of conduct, and that one-quarter of sites did not have the requisite environmental permits. Performance was better when it came to managing waste and preventing pollution, with 89%–94% of suppliers compliant with Apple’s requirements.

Of the 14 suppliers subject to more detailed scrutiny, six facilities were found not to have up-to-date environmental impact assessments, two had not registered with their local authority as polluters and two were disposing of industrial wastewater through storm drains.

Despite the non-conformities, Apple stated it had found only four core violations of its requirements and confirmed it was taking action to help suppliers improve their environmental management practices, including rolling out a new training programme.

Environmental campaigning group Greenpeace, which ranked Apple as fourth in its 2011 guide to green electronics, said the report was a big step forward in transparency and in particular welcomed the firm’s pledge to require major suppliers to participate in the Global Reporting Initiative in 2012.

“In the past Apple has been quite secretive about its supply chain and its operations. This report and signing up to the GRI signals they are gradually opening up to scrutiny,” commented senior energy and climate change campaigner, Tom Dowdall. “However, we’d also like to see more disclosure with regards their data centres in terms of energy efficiency and where they are sourcing their energy.”

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