Apple umbrella outside store

Apple accused of failing Chinese workers

Chinese green groups on Thursday accused iPhone maker Apple of failing to properly oversee its Chinese suppliers, leading to poor environmental and safety standards, and dozens of poisoned factory workers.

Apple, which announced blockbuster profits and a dazzling outlook for iPhone and iPad sales earlier this week, continues to be dogged by accusations of aggressive pricing and secretive supply chain management in Chinese factories where they now assemble most of their products.

"We've found that Apple isn't honouring its commitment in ensuring its supply chain's work safety and environmental responsibility and giving dignity and respect to the workers," said Ma Jun of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE). The IPE, in conjunction with other green groups, has published a detailed report on what it says is malpractice in Apple's supply chain.

"(Apple) only care about the price and quality (of their products) and not the environmental and social responsibility issues. In some ways they drive the suppliers to cut corners to win their contracts," Ma said.

Apple said it had a rigorous auditing regime and all its suppliers were monitored and investigated regularly.

"Our supplier responsibility reports document the progress of our extensive auditing program since 2006," an Apple spokeswoman said in a brief emailed statement.

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