Apple Now Being Praised for its Improvement in Environmental Policies
Apple’s aggressive enforcement of environmental policies in China has turned many activists who were once some of its harshest critics into ardent defends. In 2011, Chinese environmental groups took Apple to task over pollution produced by its suppliers building parts for devices such as the iPhone. The environmental groups claimed that Apple was unresponsive to concerns and was taking advantage of lax environmental protection rules.
Over the last few years, the company has instituted a number of changes and those have been noticed by its former critics according to Adam Lashinsky of Fortune
. Of the many different critics, one of the most notable was Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun who spoke at a panel recently in Chengdu where he “practically gushed about Apple’s change in behavior.”
Apple initially drew the ire of Ma when his Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs approached 29 major Western companies about environmental cooperation. Apple was the only company of the 29 that didn’t’ respond citing a “long-term policy” against participating with such groups. Ma’s group then wrote a series of reports chastising Apple, which prompted the Cupertino California company to meet with his organization and attempt to address concerns over domestic supplier pollution. By early 2012, Apple had agreed to open up supplier factories to third-party environmental inspections from groups like the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs.
After placing its changes in place, Apple is now heralded as a leader in environmental activism in China and has been credited with motivating its supply chain partners to clean up their operations. The changes have all been instituted since the death off Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, which has led to speculation that current CEO, Tim Cook, “has been supportive of Apple’s cooperation with environmental groups in a way that Jobs was not” according to Lashinsky. Apple has been a more open company regarding environmental policies and workers’ rights in China and elsewhere since Cook took the helm in August of 2011.