China investigating Apple suppliers over pollution concerns


Authorities in China are investigating two Taiwan-based Apple suppliers over pollution concerns, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal. Environmental regulators believe that both UniMicron and Foxconn are knowingly polluting their water tables.

The investigation follows accusations made last week by Chinese activist Ma Jun and a number of nonprofit organizations. They claim that factories in Kunshan, China belonging to the two companies are guilty of releasing water tainted by toxic metals into the rivers…

The Wall Street Journal (via TNW) reports:

“KUNSHAN, China—Chinese regulators are scrutinizing two suppliers to Apple Inc.AAPL +1.27% and other gadget makers following allegations by environmental groups that plants run by the two companies are pumping large amounts of toxic heavy metals into nearby rivers.

The allegations cast a spotlight on this industrial area roughly 40 miles west of Shanghai that has long supplied the global electronics industry. They come as China’s leaders and public are growing increasingly concerned about pollutants in China’s soil, air and water.

Local officials are investigating plants owned by Taiwanese companies Foxconn Technology Group 2354.TW +6.09% and UniMicron Technology Corp., 3037.TW -0.98% said Ding Yudong, the vice director of the local arm of China’s environmental regulator.”

The probe may take some time, but if the plants are found to be “severely exceeding emissions standards,” authorities will punish them. Of course, both companies have already issued firm denials claiming that the black-green fluid in question is compliant with local laws.

An Apple spokeswoman told the WSJ that the company has been working closely with suppliers and one of the environmental groups to ensure its environmental standards are being met. “Apple regularly audits its suppliers and doesn’t tolerate environmental violations.”

After encountering some criticism for supplier behavior back in 2011, Apple began publishing reports on its supply chain partners in an effort to maintain a greater level of transparency. It came under fire again last month, following allegations of labor violations at Pegatron.