Activist vows to keep broken iPhone until Apple cleans up its act

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Although the environmental group she heads up is “pleased” about the improvements Apple announced to protect workers from toxic chemicals, activist Elizabeth O’Connell still won’t buy the Cupertino company’s products.

Even if it means making those phone calls to rally support against Apple on an iPhone with a cracked screen.

“I am very happy that Apple has taken these steps and that the company is listening to its customers,” the campaign director for Green America told Cult of Mac via email. “That said, I’m going to hold on to my cracked 5c for now. I’d like for Apple to deepen its commitment to worker health and safety throughout its supply chain before I consider purchasing any new Apple products.”

Apple announced it is banning the use of benzene and n-hexane — the chemicals that make your iPhone and iPad super shiny — in the final assembly of its products.

The change is a win for the 80-strong group of environmental and human rights groups that fired off a 17-page letter to Apple’s vice president of environmental affairs Lisa Jackson back in June as part of its “Bad Apple” campaign. Some 23,0000 signatures later, Apple responded.

Protests against Apple have cropped up frequently in the last few years. In some ways, the Cupertino company makes an easier target than its competitors, most of whom make gadgets in the same Chinese factories. In addition to crafting must-have devices that are instantly recognizable from San Francisco to Shanghai, Apple has become more responsive to consumer outcry about how its insanely great products are made, from the supplier responsibility reports issued since 2007 to the recently-launched environment portal. Apple’s 2014 progress report highlights over 200 factory visits and mandated improvements to nearly 100 of them to identify, evaluate and control chemical exposure to workers.

“This announcement and the preceding investigation shows that Apple listens to its customers,” O’Connell said. “However, Apple needs to go further to create a safe environment at all factories in their supply chain for the health and safety of all 1.5 million workers.”

She’ll carry on the fight, even from a broken iPhone, though she recognizes the ban is a step in the right direction.

“I think Apple fans should thank Apple for taking this step and encourage the company to keep going in this direction, towards greater worker health and safety throughout its supply chain.”

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About the author

Nicole MartinelliNicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

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