Apple’s Zero Waste programme has helped suppliers recycle or reuse 1m tonnes of rubbish in three years. © Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images
Apple’s Zero Waste programme has helped suppliers recycle or reuse 1m tonnes of rubbish in three years. © Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

Apple reaches landfill landmark

Apple’s Zero Waste programme has helped suppliers recycle or reuse 1m tonnes of rubbish in three years, according to the tech giant’s 2019 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report.

It stated: “In 2018, our suppliers achieved UL Zero Waste certification for all final assembly test and packaging facilities across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod.”This means that at least 90% of waste is no longer being sent to landfill sites. It marks a “significant goal” in the company’s efforts to achieve a zero waste supply chain, it said.

Apple conducted a total of 770 supplier assessments in 2018, covering 93% of the company’s supplier spend.

Other improvements were seen in the company’s clean water programme, with 7.6bn gallons of water saved in 2018. In addition, energy efficiency improvements by suppliers resulted in “the reduction of 466,000 annualized metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018,” it added.

In terms of labour and human rights violations found in its supply chain last year, most were related to working hours violations and improper provision of wages and benefits, according to the company.

Of 27 core violations found in labour and human rights these included 24 working hours falsification violations, two debt-bonded labour violations, and one underage labour violation.

“One example of improper provision of wages found in our 2018 assessments included a case of employees being required to pay for their onboarding medical examinations at a facility,” the report stated. Those suppliers found to have violated this policy were required to return any fees paid to their employees.

The company added that a lower percentage of assessment violations were found relating to anti-harassment, prevention of underage labour, and freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Since 2007, some 17.3m workers in the supply chain have been trained on their workplace rights, according to Apple. Its report concluded: "Our commitment to people and the planet doesn’t end at our supply chain. We seek to be an example for others to follow." 

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