Apple is no stranger to catching flack for its less-than-green and less-than-ideal manufacturing facilities. A report issued today on the website of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs alleges that 27 suspected Apple suppliers have severe pollution problems.
The report claims Apple has decided to use loopholes in developing countries' environmental policies to increase profits dramatically. These loopholes have allowed the alleged suppliers to get away with dumping heavy metal sludge, and producing toxic gases, among other offenses. Of course Apple maintains that it is "committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply base," according to spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.
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. - Wu
Apple isn't the only Western company who is criticized heavily in the report, Matel catches considerable guff for a lead-paint scandal in 2007. Non of this should be a big surprise. When large corporations outsource their manufacturing duties halfway across the world, and across multiple continents no less, it becomes nearly impossible to ensure each facility is practicing what their parent company is preaching.
However, when a village near one of your production facilities experiences a "phenomenal rise in cases of cancer," it might be time to start keeping a closer eye on your "supply base."