New boycott called on Apple products for toxic chemical use

Green America launches campaign to get two toxic chemicals out of Apple's supply chain

Green America, a D.C.-based non-profit group, and The Nation magazine launched a campaign Wednesday intended to persuade consumers to boycott Apple products unless the company makes changes in its production and supply chain operations.

The campaign is the latest in a string of attempts to get consumers to focus on worker conditions in the myriad of factories that makes Apple products such as iPhones and the components that go into them.

A key message of the campaign is that it would cost just $1 for Apple to substitute out benzene and n-hexane, two of the most toxic chemicals used in its supply chain. The figure was derived from asking industry insiders their "best guess" for the cost involved, said Elizabeth O'Connell, campaign director, Green America.

The campaign is also asking Apple to create a healthcare fund to pay for the care of workers who have fallen sick working on its products, allegedly due to poisoning from those two chemicals, and to generally improve working conditions.

And it's asking consumers to complete a protest letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and postpone purchases of Apple products until the company makes changes.

Apple products are some of the most popular in consumer electronics and its iPhone leads the smartphone sector, so getting users to click and send a protest letter might be a lot easier than persuading them to put off buying the next iPhone.

"We're hoping that those who are loyal Apple customers will still write to Apple to voice their concerns," said O'Connell. "We know from experience that once you get a certain amount of consumer pressure, the company will listen to that opinion."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple and its main iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, have been criticized for several years over the way workers are treated. The issue jumped to the forefront after a string of suicides at Foxconn factories and pushed Foxconn to pledge a change in the way workers live and are treated. Apple began highlighting the issue in its annual compliance report that also sets targets for its suppliers related to working conditions.

Apple's most recent Supplier Responsibility Report was published last month. It said Apple had conducted 451 audits of its suppliers in 2013.

During the year it dealt with another criticism it has faced in the past, with the verification that none of the tantalum metal used in its products comes from sources that fund armed groups in unstable parts of Africa.

Green America is a Washington, D.C., based non-profit organization. It's currently involved in major campaigns against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and fossil fuel use in electricity power generation.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Electronics manufacturingAppleGreen Americafoxconnconsumer electronicsiPhonesmartphonesenvironment

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?