• Apple Computer manufactures and retails personal computers, electronics, and software.
• Apple has consistently lagged behind competitors in environmental programs such as recycling computers; phasing out toxic chemicals like PVC from its computers; ensuring transparency; and a willingness to talk to environmental groups.
• Apple sourced from Foxconn Electronics in China, which has been accused of using sweatshop labor.
• Apple's compensation of its founder Steve Jobs and the structure of its Board of Directors have been called into question.
• Use Go Green to take action with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, and tell Apple to be a corporate innovator and lead the industry in sustainability.
-- Profile Updated 03/09/2011
Apple Computer, based in Cupertino, CA, manufactures and retails personal computers and software. In 2006, the company employed 16,820 people and generated revenues of $19.3 billion.
A Greener Apple!
According to Greenpeace, Apple products made with toxic chemicals (such as flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride) are being sold worldwide. When discarded, they typically end up in the hands of children in China, India and other developing countries. They dismantle the products for parts and are exposed to dangerous toxins that threaten their health and the environment. Take action now to get Apple to go green.
Electronics TakeBack Coalition
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, formerly the Computer TakeBack Campaign, aims to protect the health and well being of electronics users, workers, and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, through effective public policy requirements or enforceable agreements.
Apple Canada Inc. - Markham, Canada
- Apple Computer (UK) Ltd. (Branch) - Uxbridge, United Kingdom
- Apple Computer AB - Kista, Sweden
Apple Computer AB - Kista, Sweden
- Apple Computer Australia Pty. Ltd. - Melbourne, Australia
- Apple Computer Australia Pty. Ltd. - Sydney, Australia
- Apple Computer Benelux B.V. - Bunnik, Netherlands
- Apple Computer Benelux BV - Brussels, Belgium
- Apple Computer France SARL - Les Ulis, France
- Apple Computer Ges.mbH - Vienna, Austria
- Apple Computer GmbH - Feldkirchen, Germany
- Apple Computer Inc. Limited - Cork, Ireland
- Apple Computer International Ltd. - Causeway Bay, China (Hong Kong)
- Apple Computer Mexico S.A. de C.V. - Mexico, Mexico
- Apple Japan, Inc. - Tokyo, Japan
- FileMaker Inc. - Santa Clara, CA
Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
137 workers at a supply factory for Apple have been seriously injured in the past year by a toxic chemical, called n-hexane, which is used to clean the slick glass touch screens of the iPhone. Apple has announced that it has ordered the factory to stop using the chemical and that the company would monitor the conditions of the affected workers, yet nearly a dozen of these employees said they had never heard from anyone at Apple. Instead, the company that owns the factory, Wintek, has alleged pressed the workers to resign and cash settlements to absolve the factory of liability. Some workers won’t leave the factory until they receive assurance that Wintek will cover their future medical bills due to the poisoning, as some employees have been hospitalized for up to 10 months. But in general, employees have complained of sore limbs, dizzy spells, hypersensitivity to cold, pounding headaches and extreme weakness to the point that they had difficulty climbing stairs or even buttoning a shirt. Apple has claimed that n-hexane is no longer being used at this factory and that Wintek has repaired the ventilation system as well. But a local labor rights group in Hong Kong reports that Apple and Wintek were both very slow to address the issue, as rumors of the poisoning first became apparent in 2009, the first strike at the factory was in January 2010 and after this case was exposed by the media, Apple still has not contacted the workers or yet made an apology. Apple has faced other incidents of labor rights violations in China such as the several suicides last year among workers at Foxconn Technologies, one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, allegedly due to the factory’s harsh working conditions. In addition, some of Apple’s other Chinese suppliers had as many as 42 under-age workers in one factory.
-- New York Times, 02/23/2011
A report ranking 29 technology companies on a response to a questionnaire about their Chinese supply chaing ranked Apple in joint last place. The report, conducted by a coalition of Chinese NGOs, criticized Apple for failing to respond to legitimate questions about their supply chain, particularly in regards to an incident where 49 Taiwanese workers were hospitalised after being exposed to the chemical n-hexane. While Motoral and Nokia, who were also sourcing from the factory, answered the questions, Apple simply stated that "it will never dislcose information about its suppliers." The report also claims that a number of factories believed to be Apple suppliers have violated environmental regulations in recent years.
-- GreenBiz, 01/24/2011
Foxconn, an embattled electonics factory in Taiwan, faced more accusations of serious labor violations in a 90 page report issued by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and students and professor's at top Chinese universities. The report found that Foxconn, who manufactures electronics including cellphones and iPads for companies like Apple, HP, and Sony, hires interns instead of full-time workers to save money, doesn't pay legally madated insurance for its employees, and excessive work hours which are causing the factories employees to become extremely stressed out. Foxconn has had a long history of being accused of labor violations, yet the company denies any wrong doing.
-- Global Post, 10/11/2010
Factory in China manufacturing for technology companies involved in string of suicides. As of May 25, 2010, nine suicides have occurred in a factory this year, this factory produces for Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and other global companies. There were also two other failed suicide attempts at this factory. The factory is now under investigation and some workers’ rights group feel that the factory runs a military-style operation, putting stress on workers.
-- New York Times, 06/24/2010
While Apple's score on Greenpeace’s annual “Guide to Greener Electronics” actually went up, it’s ranking dropped. Apple is praised for its commitment to phase out toxic substances including PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), it is criticized for not having a solid timeline for the phase out of other harmful substances and not applying phase outs to its entire product line. Apple also scores poorly for e-waste programs. Apple does get high scores for having all of its desktop and portable computer meet Energy Star standards and its iPod and iPhone power adaptors actually exceeding Energy Star criteria.
-- Greenpeace, 11/24/2008
More than 70 environmental groups have signed a letter to former Vice President Al Gore, who sits on the board of Apple, asking him to push the company to become more sustainable. Environmentalists express surprise that as America’s best-known environmental advocate, Gore would oppose shareholder resolutions—which Apple claims were unanimously voted against—asking Apple to become greener.
-- Computer TakeBack Campaign, 03/22/2007
Apple Computer Inc. was one of the companies included in Greenpeace International’s “E-waste Hall of Shame.” Greenpeace International discovered Apple products in their visit to a Chinese scrap yard. Apple, along with IBM, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Acer, has not committed to remove chemicals from products or be responsible for the safe recycling and responsible disposal of their products.
-- Greenpeace, 06/20/2006
Basel Action Network’s (BAN)--a Seattle-based international network of activists seeking to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis--report entitled “The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-use and Abuse to Africa,” examines the current downside to the information technology growth in the industrialized world, focusing on the environmental ramifications in Lagos, Nigeria. The study demonstrates how Nigeria, representative of developing nations, has disproportionately carried the burden of toxic cyber waste. The formal and informal dumps have leached dangerous toxins, such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals, into the air and groundwater. Apple products were among those found “washed up” on the West African import market.
-- Basel Action Network, 10/24/2005
On the 2005 Computer Report Card, published jointly by the Computer TakeBack Campaign and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Apple received a score of 17 for their policies regarding electronics take back, disposal procedures and the materials used in their computers. Apple’s score was better than Acer or Gateway’s, slightly worse than Sony and IBM, and trailed HP and Dell by wide margins.
-- Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, 03/07/2005
Health and Safety
Apple is recalling 1.8 million batteries used in its laptop computers worldwide after repeated overheating complaints. According to the United States’ Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were nine complaints of batteries overheating, two of which were reports of minor burns caused by the machines. The recall affects laptop computers such as the iBook, G4 and Powerbook G4, sold between October 2003 and August 2006. The recall comes shortly after Dell recalled over 4 million batteries from laptops, which were also supplied by Sony.
-- BBC News, 08/24/2006
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5283424.stm
Ethics and Governance
Apple Computer was the target of five class-action lawsuits based on accusations that the company’s iPod did not perform as promoted. Plaintiffs in the suit claim that the battery life of the iPod did not last as long as advertised, and are suing Apple on the grounds of false advertising, fraudulent concealment and breach of warranty. Apple Computer offered a settlement of $50 vouchers and extended service warranties.
-- ConsumerAffairs.com, 04/01/2006
Several computer retailers that sell Mac computers filed lawsuits against Apple alleging that the company was unfairly pushing customers to patronize Apple-owned outlets. Plaintiffs argue that the claim is evidenced by ongoing problems with billing systems and service. Tom Santos of San Francisco brought forth a multimillion-dollar lawsuit accusing the computer company of unfair competition, fraud, false advertising, breach of contract and violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
-- SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle), 02/03/2003
In 2002, BusinessWeek named Apple Computer as having one of the worst board of directors. The magazine cited interlocking directorship--Steve Jobs sits on the board of directors for the Gap and the Gap CEO sits on Apple's board--and the fact that the CEO of Micro Warehouse, which accounted for nearly 2.9 percent of Apple's net sales in 2001, sits on the company's compensation committee. The magazine used criteria such as board independence and stock ownership for the listing.
-- Business Week, 10/07/2002
Former Apple employee, Dan Riccio, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the corporation in October of 2001. Riccio claimed that he was overlooked for promotions, denied stock options, and kept segregated from white colleagues because he is African American. According to Riccio, Apple suspended and ultimately fired him for having a guest with him on the Apple campus, which had never been a problem when done by his white co-workers.
-- East Bay Business Times, 11/05/2001
In 2001, Apple bought a Gulfstream V airplane for CEO Steve Jobs and paid $90 million for the plane, fuel and all related taxes Jobs would have had to pay.
-- Cnet News, 01/19/2000
Source URL: news.com.com/2100-1040-235835.html
In 2005, as Apple Computer CEO Steven Jobs was paid a $1 salary. However, Mr. Jobs was awarded 10 millon restricted shares of the company's common stock in 2003, the value of which were estimated at $532 million as of September 2005.
-- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 06/27/1905
Source URL: www.sec.gov/
Apple admits child labor in their supplier’s factories; in three factories eleven 15 year old children were employed. Apple will investigate employment routines and personnel records. The company also concludes that 55 out of 102 factories ignore the rule of a maximum 60 hours working week. However, Apple does not disclose the factories in question. There have also been controversies at other Apple factories, including 62 workers who were poisoned by n-hexane.
-- Daily News (New York), 03/01/2010
According to a report by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) Apple has made some improvements in its corporate social responsibility policies. It has increased the size of its corporate and social responsibility team from one member to eight and has strived to gain control of it production chain. However, Apple rates very low on transparency. The company will not disclose its supplier list and will not provide a list of audits and training sessions conducted in China. Additionally, the computer giant refuses to have any public discussion of its social responsibility and will not enter into cooperative relationships with nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations.
-- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), 05/01/2008
Upon investigation, Apple Computer found that their suppliers in China have been violating the company’s supplier code of conduct. Apple reported regular workweeks in manufacturing facilities in excess of 60 hours and workers labored more than six consecutive days 25 percent of the time. However, the company found “no evidence of forced labor” or use of child workers. Janek Kuczkiewicz, director of human and trade union rights at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), said he was unimpressed by the report: “Apple interviewed just 100 people out of the estimated 30,000 iPod workers.”
Apple’s investigation came after British newspaper, the Mail on Sunday, criticized Foxconn Electronics for labor violations. Foxconn Electronics supplies $20.7 billion worth of products annually to Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Sony, and other top name brands. According to the Mail, labor rights violations include the following:
- Wages below the legal minimum, with workers reportedly earning $50 a month
- Routine work shifts of 15 hours
- Poor and unsafe working conditions
- Inadequate dormitories
China Labor Bulletin research director Robin Munro stated, "They're not sharing proportionally in the benefits and profits in this huge globalization effort…. The only reason they can survive in these cities is because all they do is work." Foxconn states that there are huge discrepancies between the truth and allegations cited in the report.
-- BBC News, 08/18/2006
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5262110.stm