Chinese companies supplying the US computer group Apple are seriously and permanently polluting the environment, putting the health of residents around the factories at risk, denounce NGOs after having investigated the field for five months.
The 46-page report from these environmental groups, released on Wednesday, is titled “Bad Apple”. He accuses, for example the support, the American glove of knowing that the manufacture of his iPads, iPhones and other emblematic products generates a “standard volume” of toxic waste, but of not acting on it and of taking care of the question.
"Thanks to five months of research and investigation in the field, we have discovered that the pollutant releases of this company worth 300 billion dollars have increased and are spreading in its supply chain", stressed the report.
More than 27 “presumed suppliers” of Apple are responsible for more or less serious damage to the ecosystems, taking advantage of the incomplete controls in China, which has become the computer workshop of the world because of its very cheap workforce, accused the report.
Questioned by the AFP, Apple admitted not to make public the names of its suppliers in China, without explaining the reason. A spokesperson for the group, Carolyn Wu, said Apple had audited 97 factories around the world last year, but did not say how many were done in China. The report cites for example the case of the company Meiko Electronics, installed Wuhan (center), suspected of supplying Apple with printed circuits.
Lake Nantaizi, located near the Meiko factory, is “seriously contaminated” with heavy metals, according to the report: analysis of water samples taken on the spot, for example, showed a copper level of 56 193 times higher than in the other lakes of the Yangtse basin.
One of the NGOs behind the report, the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), is chaired by Ma Jun, a former journalist who became an environmental activist and was named in 2006 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. by Time magazine.
“Many Chinese living near factories are not even aware of supplier-Apple relationships”, AFP said Ma. "Apple has clearly not tried to solve the problem on the ground by talking to affected people", according to him.
Carolyn Wu said the company would investigate the NGO charges. "We require our suppliers to provide safe working conditions, to treat employees with dignity and respect and to follow environmentally responsible manufacturing processes", she said.
Ma said the IPE Institute responded favorably to an email from Apple requesting direct dialogue with the NGO. “We have documented what people living near their factories have reported to us and we are eager to share this information with Apple”, said the environmental activist.
In another report published in January, Apple had already been criticized for failings in its suppliers: the American group had come last, out of 29 multinationals in the technology sector, of an investigation targeting health risks at work and the problems of industrial pollution in China.
Comment on the forum.