updated 04:35 pm EST, Thu January 20, 2011
Company dodging questions about polluters
A non-profit Chinese environmental group, the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs, is ranking Apple last in a list of 29 multinational technology companies in terms of responsiveness and transparency, according to Bloomberg. The director of the Institute, Ma Jun, says that Apple has refused to confirm whether or not some suspected polluters are amongst its suppliers. The company is also dodging responsibility for environmental problems it is causing, Ma claims.
As a specific example he points to Wintek, a company reported in 2009 to have used a chemical called N-Hexane in cleaning screens. In part because of unsafe conditions, a number of workers were hospitalized for nerve damage; Wintek only announced a stop to N-Hexane use in May. Even though Wintek is known elsewhere to be an Apple supplier, Apple spokesperson Jill Tan has refused to acknowledge the two companies' connection, or to comment on specific incidents.
"We originally thought that Apple, as a corporate citizen, would take a leadership role, but now we feel they ended up as the most obstructive," says Ma. Although having read IPE's report, Tan will only state that Apple "has had an extensive supplier auditing program since 2006," and that information is available on the company's website. The report comes from data collected by a group of 36 NGOs.