Apple Admits to Improper Hazardous Waste Disposal

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In response to its finding, Apple required that all three companies improperly disposing the hazardous waste to immediately stop shipping waste and to hire certified vendors for future waste disposal. Photo: Flickr/Garrulus

Apple’s 2010 Supplier Responsibility Report reveals that there were one or more violations in 60 of the 102 facilities that the company audited in 2009, including suppliers hiring underage workers, underpaying and overworking employees and falsifying formal records to cover up these violations.

On the environmental front, Apple discovered that three companies were improperly disposing of hazardous waste.

Apple also found that 44 facilities lacked a complete environmental impact assessment, and 11 companies didn’t have air emissions permits. Overall, the suppliers met Apple’s environmental practice expectations 74 percent of the time.

In response, Apple has required that all three companies improperly disposing the hazardous waste to immediately stop shipping waste and to hire certified vendors for future waste disposal.  Suppliers without an assessment were forced to conduct an environmental assessment of entire facility and file it with the government and companies without air emission permits were forced to obtain one.

Apple recently announced its all-time highest revenue and profit last fiscal quarter – 3.36 million in computer sales and 8.7 million iPhones.

So, how will “blowing the whistle” on itself impact the company?

It’s no doubt a huge story, and the revelation could have possibly crippled the electronic giant’s already slightly tarnished image in the green sphere. However, several media outlets are responding positively to the company’s transparency.

“Though the violations come as a shock it’s nice to know that Apple is clearly displaying their assembly line faults and laying out a plan of action to fix them — if they haven’t already,” writes Inhabitat. “Kudos to Apple for finding these violations and laying out plans to fix them. You can rest easy knowing Apple is doing something to make sure your gadgets are made with responsibility in mind.”

Is this the future of corporate social responsibility reporting? We sure hope so.

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