Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pledged to increase efforts to monitor the environmental practices of its suppliers in China, according to activists who said they met with officials from the world’s biggest technology company this week.
“The company told us that it hadn’t given sufficient guidance to suppliers on environmental issues in the past,” Li Li, a director at Beijing-based group Envirofriends who attended a Nov. 15 meeting with Apple in the Chinese capital, said by phone today. The Cupertino, California-based company hired an independent firm and began auditing its suppliers in China, she said without naming any manufacturers.
Carolyn Wu, Apple’s spokeswoman in Beijing, said the company requires suppliers to use “environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.” She declined to comment on the meeting this week with the environmental groups.
Pollution caused by suppliers making Apple’s products in China “greatly endangers” public health and safety, according to an August report by the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, a Beijing-based group. Apple’s own audits last year found that 80 suppliers’ facilities were not storing or handling hazardous chemicals properly, according to a company report.
“Apple told us at the meeting that its efforts on the environment were inadequate, and it committed to improve,” said Feng Yongfeng, a researcher at Beijing-based Green Beagle who also attended this week’s meeting.
Suppliers may be terminated if they fail to correct offenses identified in the audit within 12 months, Apple officials said, according to Feng.
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