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Tell Apple to Live Up to Its Green Image

"Behind their stylish image, Apple products have a side many do not know about – pollution and poison."

That's the conclusion of 36 of China's leading environmental groups, which this week ranked the corporate giant tied for last among 29 global IT companies for its transparency about which Chinese factories it is outsourcing for manufacture of its parts.

The accusation is serious business given the spate of worker poisonings and waste spills in the Chinese electronics manufacture industry.

In just one example, last May, at least 62 workers at a factory called Wintek were hospitalized for inhaling toxic fumes of a chemical used to clean touch screens on cell phones. The electronics factory reportedly used the noxious chemical because it's a more efficient cleaner than regular alcohol. Nokia and Motorola quickly responded to inquiries about their relationship with the factory.

Apple, on the other hand, absolutely refuses to comment, despite a letter directly from the hospitalized victims pleading for answers.

Apple says its supplier code of conduct "draws on internationally recognized standards to advance social and environmental responsibility."

But how can third-parties hold Apple accountable to its promise if it refuses to answer questions about where it products come from?

When companies such as Apple demand low prices—and go to China to get them from their suppliers—they are adding pressure for these companies to play loose and fast with environment, health and safety concerns. This is easy in China, where regulations are weaker.

Other companies, such as Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Sony and Siemems, were ranked high by the Green Choice Alliance for their responsiveness to 3rd party inquiries about potential environmental violations within their Chinese supply chain.

The coalition of environmental groups is asking that Apple at minimum respond their requests for information. Apple should start by disclosing its relationship with Wintek, as Nokia and Motorola have done. This group has tried for months to get Apple to comment.

Maybe a little international pressure would help. Please sign this petition to Apple, telling them to meet with the Green Choice Alliance and respond transparently to their inquiries about the Wintek incident and other questions about their supply chain.

Photo credit: adita121 via Flickr

This petition was delivered to:
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  • CEO, Apple
    Steve Jobs

    Jess Leber started this petition with a single signature, and now has 549 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.