We're working to reduce our environmental impact. And we expect our suppliers to do the same.

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An auditor inspects air handling and filtration equipment at an electroplating facility in Suzhou, China.

We take great care to design environmentally sound products. And we work with suppliers to make sure they use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever those products are made

Highlights from our 2014 Report

Completed more than 520 site profile surveys to help determine environmental risks.

Conducted 62 focused environmental assessments.

Launched the Clean Water Program pilot with 13 supplier sites to increase reuse and recycling.

View all 2014 highlights

Apple's commitment to environmental responsibility.

Our commitment to environmental responsibility extends deep into our supply chain. Even when local regulations are less stringent than our Supplier Code of Conduct, we expect our suppliers to go above and beyond the law to protect their local communities and minimize impact to the environment. Suppliers must uphold all of our environmental standards — including hazardous waste management, wastewater management, stormwater management, air emissions management, and boundary noise management — wherever Apple products are made.

We look for environmental risks through a variety of methods, including onsite compliance audits, environmental profile surveys, NGO partnerships, and resources like the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) water and air pollution database. We completed more than 520 environmental profile surveys in 2013, focusing on our top 200 suppliers. The survey data allows us to determine risks by commodity, and it enables us to build targeted training, tools, and programs to minimize our suppliers’ environmental impact.

Once we identify risks or problems, we conduct a further in-depth environmental assessment. In 2013, we conducted 62 assessments, which consisted of analyzing historical issues, taking environmental samples of things like discharge water and sediment, gathering information, and uncovering violations of Apple’s Code of Conduct. We take any findings and violations through our corrective action process, then verify them for remediation by third-party auditors and as needed by environmental NGOs in China.

520

environmental profile surveys conducted in 2013.

We are committed to the environment and reducing our impact.

Learn more about Apple and the environment
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Managers from Apple suppliers attend the inaugural meeting of the Apple Supplier EHS Academy in Suzhou, China.

The EHS Academy: Building knowledge to build better environments.

To address the shortage of qualified environment, health, and safety (EHS) personnel, we launched the Apple Supplier EHS Academy (described in detail in Health and Safety). The 18-month Academy offers 25 courses for environment, health, and safety, and it includes general and customized classes on topics such as environmental regulatory compliance, environmental aspects identification and evaluation, water management, air pollution control, and cleaner production. The Academy focuses on foundation setting, skill building, management, and leadership. Participants must choose and complete 19 courses. At the end of the program, participants are granted a certificate of completion. Participants are also required to apply their knowledge to create and implement real-time projects at their facilities. In 2013, more than 240 participants from over 60 supplier facilities covering over 270,000 workers enrolled in the EHS Academy. We plan to expand the program in 2014.

Introducing the Clean Water Program.

Fresh water is a precious resource, and it is everyone’s responsibility to preserve and limit its use. Some manufacturing processes within Apple’s supply chain use larger amounts of water than others. To make sure our suppliers are part of the solution to preserve this resource, Apple instituted the Clean Water Program to help reduce water usage, promote water recycling, and prevent illegal water pollution within our supply chain.

We targeted suppliers that are manufacturing product parts known to consume larger amounts of water. These included suppliers of printed circuit boards (PCBs), enclosures, cover glass, packaging, printing, and some electrical board suppliers. Thirteen water-intensive sites — which collectively consume more than 41 million cubic meters of water per year — became the pilot facilities for our Clean Water Program in 2013.

This program goes beyond simply ensuring compliance and checking for accurate permits. We start with a complete process map of the facility’s hazardous chemicals use and process waste streams. The supplier’s existing reuse and recycling programs are just one of many things we analyze. We also evaluate the entire wastewater treatment process along with its efficiency and performance relative to the type of manufacturing. And we make sure it can handle the facility’s capacity for treating generated process wastewater. We measure water input and output and sample water throughout the facility’s treatment process up to the final discharge point. We also consider local water risks like continual access to daily production needs while minimizing impact to the local community, whose neighbors rely on this resource.

After our in-depth evaluation, we score the supplier on categories including water usage; wastewater management; wastewater treatment facility operation, maintenance, performance, and monitoring; stormwater management; and hazardous waste management. Depending on improvement needs, we give the supplier specific remediation actions to work on with our team and third-party technical consultants.

In 2014, we’ll apply the findings and best practices from this pilot program to other suppliers with water-intensive production processes.