We take great care to design environmentally sound products. And we work with suppliers to make sure they’re using environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever those products are made.
Apple’s commitment to environmental responsibility.
At Apple, we take responsibility for minimising the environmental impact of our operations and products, and our suppliers must take responsibility for their operations as well. They must comply with local laws and regulations and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.
We report on our total carbon footprint — and we’re one of very few companies to do so. We manage our overall footprint by comprehensively measuring and reporting the impact of our own operations and product development. Learn more about Apple and the environment
Expecting the highest standards.
We do not tolerate environmental violations of any kind. We hold suppliers accountable to the environmental standards our Supplier Code of Conduct — standards that are some of the strictest in our industry and many others. We look for environmental issues at many supplier levels, often confronting serious issues deep within our supply chain. But we know that risks are not the same for all suppliers. So we target high-risk suppliers for an additional layer of scrutiny with our focused environmental audits, and we work with them to lessen their impacts. To ensure that our standards and our approach reflect material environmental issues, we work with independent organisations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE).
What happens in a focused audit.
We perform focused environmental audits at suppliers with processes that have higher potential for environmental impact and suppliers that have been identified in the past as violators of local regulations or Apple’s environmental standards. During these audits, we work alongside outside experts to examine equipment, documentation, permits and maintenance records, as well as factory workers’ knowledge of processes and control systems. We also look beyond the factory — for example, sometimes inspecting adjacent properties.
When we discover serious impact to the environment, we require processes to be shut down until they can be remedied. We give the facility 90 days to meet our requirements. Once the problem has been fixed, we follow up with the supplier to verify everything. In addition, we have third-party experts — such as the IPE or local NGOs — validate these findings and completed corrective actions. By opening our supply chain to outside organisations, we increase transparency and make sure our suppliers’ environmental impact is carefully reviewed.
To hold ourselves accountable, we reference a variety of external sources including the IPE pollution database, which highlights suppliers with environmental citations by local regulatory agencies in China. This is an additional resource to assess the risk of our suppliers and target our focused environmental audits. In 2012, we completed 55 focused environmental audits — a 293 per cent increase over 2011. Of the 55 sites, 26 were cited in the IPE database.