Apple is set to expand its environmental concern by teaming up with China’s Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs to audit its Chinese supply chain for pollution. Joint investigations are expected to start “in the next few weeks,” according to one report, with “a maker of printed circuit boards” the first of Apple’s suppliers to enter the spotlight.
Ma Jun, the founder of the IPE, told USA Today back in February that these planned audits would go ahead. But it wasn’t until today that a report from the Financial Times revealed that Apple would be involved. While the Cupertino company has previously kept quiet about the details of its environmental issues, Jun believes that it now recognizes the importance of being open about about its findings.
Jun told the Financial TImes:
One Apple vice-president said that transparency was needed and I felt that was the moment they decided they wanted to change the way they were doing things. But it’s now become about validation, we keep telling them that you can’t just say that everything’s fine – we need proof.
The Next Web reports that Apple’s change in attitude came last year when the company held a meeting with suppliers in China following a series of environmental concerns. Catcher Technology, a supplier that makes Apple’s MacBook casings, was forced to close one of its plants due to environmental hazards, while iPhone supplier Pegatron was fined for expelling harmful gasses.
The environmental investigations come just weeks after Apple asked the Fair Labour Association to audit its suppliers following reports that detailed the mistreatment of Chinese factory workers.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook is determined to put things right in the company’s supply chain, and he recently became the first Apple CEO to visit China and the factories building Apple’s products.