Campaigners call on Apple to eliminate hazardous chemicals from supply chain

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
14 June 2014

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15 June 2014 | Will Green

A group of 80 organisations and individuals with interests in areas including the environment, human rights and occupational health have written to Apple calling on the company to stop using hazardous chemicals in its Chinese supplier factories.

Pressure group Green America said “benzene and other highly hazardous chemicals which can cause cancer, reproductive and neurological harm” were being used in factories in China to make Apple products.

The letter has been sent to Lisa Jackson, vice president of environmental affairs at Apple and former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Green America said the cost of eliminating the chemicals was less than $1 per device and 20,000 people had signed a petition against their use.

The organisation said: “The groups are specifically calling on Jackson to use her influence to eliminate and replace all hazardous chemicals used in Apple’s Chinese supplier factories with safe alternatives.”

Elizabeth O’Connell, campaigns director for Green America, said: “As a global technology leader, Apple can and should be the first consumer electronics company to implement reforms to protect workers from hazardous chemicals.

“Apple has the financial resources to make these changes and the global leadership to make it count. Apple is not alone in these offences, but its leadership is needed to make worker health and safety reforms a broader priority within the technology industry.”

Ted Smith, executive director at the International Campaign for Responsible Technology, said: "For years Apple has carefully promoted an image that it is a company that ‘Thinks different’. Here is a golden opportunity for the company to really live up to this image by taking bold leadership to eliminate all hazardous chemicals that are harming the workers who make their products – most of whom are women of child-bearing age – and by replacing them with safe alternatives.”

Apple did not wish to comment on the letter when contacted by SM.

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