Environment, Health and Safety

Respecting the environments we work and live in.

This solar farm in Hongyuan, China, can generate enough clean energy to power all of Apple’s corporate facilities and retail stores in China.

Manufacturing with the world in mind.

Greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from manufacturing can have major environmental impacts. So we partner with our suppliers to implement programs to reduce their carbon footprint.

We replace outdated or inefficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems, repair compressed air leaks, and recover and redirect waste heat. In the first year of our energy efficiency program, improvements at 13 sites resulted in a reduction of over 13,800 metric tons of carbon emissions.

In addition to making facilities energy efficient, we explore ways to power them using cleaner and renewable sources. In 2015, we launched our Clean Energy Program to reduce carbon emissions across our supply chain, which makes up nearly three-quarters of Apple’s total carbon footprint. In China alone, we’re working with our suppliers to install more than 2 gigawatts of clean energy. Foxconn, our first partner, will create 400 megawatts of solar energy by 2018 — enough to power final production of iPhone at its Zhengzhou factory.

13.8K metric tons of carbon emissions reduced in 2015
20M metric tons of carbon emissions we expect to reduce in China by 2020
A third-party auditor discusses a supplier’s air handling equipment in Zhengzhou, China.

Making products with fewer by-products.

In 2015, we launched a waste diversion program at 22 factories, including all final assembly facilities, to help suppliers reduce, reuse, or recycle. This includes reusing internal packaging, shipping packaging materials back to vendors for reuse, and limiting food waste from worker canteens. And when waste leaves the facilities, we’re working closely with local governments to ensure that it’s disposed of properly. To date, our efforts have diverted 73,773 metric tons of waste from landfills.

In July 2015, Foxconn Guanlan became our first supplier to recycle or responsibly dispose of all its production waste without using landfills. And in January 2016, after six months of 100 percent waste diversion, Guanlan was officially validated as a zero-waste facility.

Case Study

Keeping waste out of landfills.

Foxconn Zhengzhou, one of our final assembly facilities for iPhone, was sending a large portion of its production waste to landfills every month. This represented a tremendous opportunity to lessen the impact of how we make our most popular product.

We partnered with Underwriters Laboratories, a third-party assessor, to help identify and classify the factory’s various waste streams. We found that nearly 80 percent of the facility’s total waste was generated by production, including inbound packaging from material vendors. Apple supplier responsibility team member Sharon Shu explains, “Each iPhone has more than 100 parts. And each part has multiple suppliers. Each needs packaging.”

Component packaging trays are shredded and sent to another plant to be recycled.

So local managers created a classification system to evaluate all these materials, boosting sorting efficiency and increasing recyclability. They also found ways to work more closely with parts vendors to better regulate shipments of inbound packaging, even getting some vendors to change the way they package their parts.

Together, they were able to divert 40 percent of Foxconn Zhengzhou’s previously landfill-bound waste to recycling, and the remaining waste was repurposed to help generate power for local governments. And as of early 2016, Foxconn Zhengzhou is 96 percent landfill-free.

“It’s a continuous effort,” says Sharon. “And currently our goal is to make Foxconn Zhengzhou a zero-waste facility in 2016.”

A worker moves a palette of recyclable packaging trays in Zhengzhou, China.

Making water-intensive processes more water conscious.

The water we use has a direct effect on the communities we operate in. In 2013, we started the Clean Water Program to reduce the use of freshwater in our suppliers’ processes. We learned that 73 of our suppliers’ facilities accounted for 70 percent of the top 200 suppliers’ known total water use. And through baseline assessments, performance evaluations, technical support, and supplier training, we helped them save more than 3.8 billion gallons of freshwater. We’re also increasing reuse and recycling of treated wastewater.

Water samples are tested for pollutants as part of our Clean Water Program.

Safer facilities start with a specialized curriculum.

Across our supply chain, there’s a shortage of people with adequate environment, health, and safety (EHS) skills. To ensure the safety of people working in our suppliers’ facilities, we need to do more than provide basic safety precautions and procedures. So in 2013 we established the EHS Academy to address this shortage of EHS expertise by educating local managers on issues of environmental protection and air pollution, water and chemical management, and emergency preparedness and safety equipment.

Partnering with local universities and the Institute for Sustainable Communities, participants complete a rigorous 18-month EHS curriculum. In addition to their coursework, managers must create and implement real EHS projects to improve conditions at their local facilities. Participants have launched over 2460 of these environment, health, and safety projects since the EHS Academy was founded, with more than 1590 in 2015 alone.

265 participating sites since 2013
1590+ EHS projects implemented in 2015
310 EHS Academy graduates in 2015

Case Study

Increasing safety at Marian Suzhou.

As part of their coursework, EHS Academy students create and implement a real project to improve their local facility.

At our Marian Suzhou supplier facility, students in the machine safety course noticed safety gaps in how manufacturing machinery was developed, installed, and maintained.

EHS Academy graduates discuss their latest safety project.

“There are challenges. Machine vendors don’t always allow us access to the software behind them,” says Mark Stasney, president of Marian Suzhou. “So we add our own safety apparatus and safety interlocks.”

With the support of facility management, the local EHS team researched and created a machine life management system that added EHS checkpoints to different milestones across a machine’s life span. These included design, manufacture, acceptance, evaluation, regular monitoring, and disposal.

Now machine safety checks are a daily occurrence, and safety has become a top priority at Marian Suzhou. Workers at all levels of production are encouraged to speak up and alert EHS managers if safety risks arise.

With the new EHS system and daily safety routines in place, machinery-related injuries were reduced and new safety precautions have been enforced throughout the factory — including places where non-Apple products are made.

Machines are inspected daily to ensure that safety mechanisms are working.

Keeping restricted chemicals out of manufacturing processes and away from people.

Our Regulated Substances Specification (RSS) list was released in 2014 to identify the toxic chemicals we limit or prohibit in our manufacturing processes. We led audits that inventoried chemical purchasing and mapped chemicals across our supply chain to identify risk. And in 2015, 100 percent of process chemicals at all final assembly facilities (FATP) were free of Apple-prohibited substances. Now, we’re working to identify these chemicals at our non-final assembly facilities (non-FATP).

In 2014, we committed to forming an advisory board to focus on chemicals. And this past year, Apple’s Green Chemistry Advisory Board, a group of global experts, began redefining our chemical audit strategy and reporting, spearheading research, and exploring ways to replace restricted substances with greener alternatives.

100% of all 22 FATPs are free of Apple-prohibited substances
37 non-FATPs received chemical management assessments in 2015
58 supplier partnerships created to improve chemical processes
A worker in Pathum Thani, Thailand, works with lead-free solder.

Everyone should be prepared for emergencies.

We’re helping our suppliers develop comprehensive emergency preparedness systems to protect workers in the event of a fire, earthquake, explosion, or other natural or occupational incident. We also implement regular site monitoring to ensure that our suppliers remain vigilant about these risks. We assessed 40 suppliers, covering about 1 million workers, in 2015 alone.

Case Study

Fire prevention at Ri Teng.

The Ri Teng facility in Shanghai, China, employs about 20,000 people. When Ri Teng’s day-to-day safety program started, there were few formal emergency procedures in place. But facility safety and emergency preparedness met government standards, including the requirement of two safety drills per year.

“After Apple’s intervention, we decided that the standard needed to be higher than what the government set,” says Light Tseng, Ri Teng’s HR and EHS director. “So we raised the number of meetings and drills to once a month at each site.” Ri Teng attended Apple’s EHS Academy to design and implement fire safety and emergency preparedness projects. In addition, the facility significantly expanded its local EHS team to onboard more skilled talent. The team developed comprehensive emergency preparedness systems for storms, floods, earthquakes, and fires.

Having these systems in place proved especially important in 2015, when a faulty ventilation system caused a fire on the facility’s exterior. Ri Teng’s emergency response team evacuated all factory line workers in less than five minutes, and used extinguishing equipment and hydrants to contain the blaze until the local fire department arrived.

EHS team members inspect fire extinguishers during a routine safety check.

Following the fire, Ri Teng’s EHS team switched from a plasma-based ventilation system to a water-based system to decrease the risk of fire. They also partnered with the local fire department to create an automated fire retardant foam pipeline for use within their ventilation system. And they increased the scope of participation in the facility’s safety drills.

Workers take turns extinguishing controlled flames during a monthly fire drill.

Safety equipment is a worker’s most important tool.

Safety gear isn’t safe for workers if it’s used incorrectly. Through our supplier audits, we found a lack of understanding and awareness of proper use of personal protective equipment. So in 2015, we partnered with 3M to host workshops at supplier facilities. These workshops teach the proper way to fit and wear protective equipment like masks and respirators. Safety experts are also in attendance to answer questions, and workers can trade in their old equipment for new equipment.

A worker learns how to wear protective equipment at a 3M workshop.