On the 7th June 2010 Apple launched the iPhone 4. At the same time, Chinese environmentalists criticised Apple for its environmental pollution and avoiding its responsibility as a business.
The iPhone 4 has been manufactured in China. China is the centre of the world’s IT product manufacturing, while its ecology and environment pay the price. On the 16th March, 34 Chinese environmental protection organisations published a survey. This report showed that the companies that produce printed circuit boards in the areas of the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta have caused serious heavy metal pollution in the local rivers, land and coastal waters. This has also seriously affected the environment of the local communities and the health of residents. The environmental protection organisations discovered that the offending companies were supplying products to IT brands like Apple, Nokia, Canon and IBM. However they also wrote letters to these technology giants raising worries and hoping that they would strengthen their environmental supply-chain management.
The companies that have made a primary response include Sony, Lucent, Nokia, Seiko, Epson and other companies. However two months have passed, and Apple has not given one word of reply.
The Director of the Public and Environmental Research Centre Ma Jun said: “Mr Jobs is always speaking of each new iPhone feature, …however when it comes to the question of heavy metal pollution in the supply chain, there has been a long silence. Apple deliberately avoid the issue of environmental management of its supply chain, whether it be in order to control costs or maintain the competitive advantage of its prices. As consumers we definitely want to buy cost-effective high-quality products. However, today we may enjoy these products, but what kind of price will our children have to pay in the future to clean the rivers and lakes, the land and the sea, and the heavy metal pollution in their bodies? Will Apple and the other technology companies have to pick up the bill later like BP today?”