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Apple opens talks with NGOs in China

Apple opens talks with NGOs in China

Apple opened talks with Chinese environmental groups on Wednesday for the first time accusing industrialists working for the US computer and smartphone maker of large-scale pollution.

Apple has started discussions with five NGOs which published a report in August accusing dozens of factories working for the apple brand of polluting the environment, sometimes with serious consequences for health. One of the Chinese environmental activists, Ma Jun, called the opening of these talks "a step forward" while criticizing Apple for its refusal to identify its suppliers in China.

“They consider the pollution of these 15 companies to be a trade secret. This is why we do not know their names and cannot verify the measures taken to reduce pollution ”, regretted Mr. Ma, who heads the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In their report, environmental organizations notably accused Apple suppliers of rejecting toxic substances harmful to the health of workers and those living near the factories.

Apple, whose iPhones and iPads are very successful with the Chinese middle classes, declined to comment directly on the meeting. Apple has previously acknowledged that two factories in China, one owned by the Taiwanese electronics glove Foxconn and the other by another Taiwanese company, WinTek, manufacture its products.

The reconnaissance came after a series of suicides at Foxconn and after 137 workers at WinTek were poisoned by a chemical, N-hexane, used to clean notches.

"We ask our suppliers to have safe working conditions, to treat workers with dignity and respect, and to use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made"said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.

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[Source: AFP.]