China: environmental groups condemn Apple


All in all, it hasn't been a great year for Apple in China. Human rights abuses at various factories in its supply chain trickled out over the wires in 2010 (many of which were chronicled in GlobalPost's "Silicon Sweatshops").

Now, their first fall of 2011: A group of 36 environmental groups in China have condemned Apple for exhibiting disregard for the environment and for worker health issues at factories said to make electronics for their gadgets, as reported in the Financial Times today.

In a new report, Apple ranks last among 29 multinational technology companies based on how each company dealt with inquiries about pollution and occupational health hazard incidents.

Apple was secretive and uncooperative, according to the report. “Apple behaved differently from the other big brands and seemed totally complacent and unresponsive,” said to Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a well-known Chinese NGO and the main author of the report.

Among the health cases Apple apparently didn't want to revisit was the poisoning of 49 workers at Lianjian Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Wintek, in 2009, and another case of poisoning in Suzhou.

Other groups on the score card may make the honor roll: HP, BT, Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachi were all listed as positive examples which had taken steps to adjust problematic practices. Nokia, LG, SingTel, Sony, however, while not as bad as Apple, can kiss their straight A's good-bye.