Story image

Apple says it's 'protecting the planet's resources'

12 Mar 2019

Apple says it’s ‘protecting the planet’s resources’ and expanding educational opportunities for workers who assemble Apple products.

The company released its 13th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which shows how the company is doing when it comes to being about as helpful and clean as a mass manufacturer of electronics and components could hope to be. 

“In everything we do, people come first,” declares Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams.

“We are constantly raising the bar for ourselves and our suppliers because we are committed to the people who make our products possible as well as the planet we all share.”

Apple conducted 770 assessments of facilities in more than 30 countries in 2018, covering 93% of the company’s supplier spend. It also assessed 279 third-party mineral smelter and refiners.

According to Apple, all final assembly sites for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod are certified ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’,  which has diverted one million tonnes of garbage in three years.

The company has also worked with suppliers to extend its water programme to 116 suppliers, which has conserved 7 billion gallons (26 billion litres) of water.

Apple and suppliers worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 466,000 metric tonnes – the equivalent of taking just 100,000 cars off the road for a year.

While Apple suppliers must still deal with chemicals, Apple says it is trying to eliminate the toxic ones. In 2018 the company banned n-Propyl Bromide from the list of cleaning and degreasing.

Apple launched its Zero Waste Program in 2015 to encourage suppliers to divert waste from landfill. While all final assembly locations have been declared zero waste, Apple says it’s still working with others further up the supply chain to implement zero waste practices.

The company has also trained 17.3 million supplier employees about workplace rights since 2007, while a further 3.6 million have received ‘advanced education and skills training’.

“This year, we’re proud to give more people an opportunity to advance their education,” says Williams. 

“Working alongside our suppliers, we're challenging ourselves to find new ways to keep our planet healthy for future generations. Our goal has always been not just to drive progress in our supply chain, but to drive meaningful change across the industry.”

Last year Apple added new courses to its education programmes for supplier employees, including one on app development with Swift. 

“Last year, more than 1500 employees at Apple suppliers earned a college degree, adding to the thousands who have taken advantage of education programming, which expands every year.

Additionally, Apple has worked with its suppliers to create health training programs that have reached more than 250,000 people globally, and include courses on nutrition and maternal health.”

The report quotes a technician from electronics manufacturer Jabil in China. Tao Jiang, who co-created a social media app for employees to share technical tips, says the training really changed his life.

“Now if I face a problem, I can turn it around to look at it in a different way. It’s totally changed my mindset at work. Before I was just an operator, but now I want to be a professional in the IT department.”

Apple says its Supplier Code of Conduct measures suppliers against more than 500 criteria. Suppliers must meet high standards for safe and respectful workplaces, the company says.

The report goes into more detail about Apple’s initiatives with its suppliers; including underage labour, human rights, health and safety violations (most were to do with occupational health and safety hazard prevention, as well as emergency preparedness.

So next time you look at an Apple device, consider what Apple is doing about its environmental footprint, and what you can do about yours.

Apple launches revamped iPad Air & iPad mini
Apple loves tinkering with its existing product lines and coming up with new ways to make things more powerful – and both the iPad Air and iPad mini seem to be no exception.
Epson innovations and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
The world’s greatest motorsport event, the Formula One Grand Prix World Championship, descended on Melbourne’s Albert Park over the weekend for the first race of the 2019 season.
Tesla unveils the Model Y SUV
After much anticipation, Tesla unveiled the Model Y last week – a vehicle that is described as an all-electric, mid-size SUV that can seat seven adults – and the vehicle has a glass roof.
Preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics begins - with robots
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are quickly approaching, but it won’t just be a sea of athletes and sports fans – now robots will make up a significant part of the fan experience.
NZ ISPs block internet footage of Christchurch shootings
2degrees, Spark, Vodafone and Vocus are now blocking any website that shows footage of the mosque shootings.
How AI could warn civilians before a volcanic eruption
Advance monitoring could lead to better disaster planning and evacuation warnings in the event of an eruption.
Facebook launches dedicated home for its Gaming
"All of our work on the Facebook Gaming team adds up to helping build the world's gaming community."
Spotify calls out Apple's anti-competitive behaviour
Apple's App Store rules "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience—essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers".