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Apple praised in China for environmental policies

Yoni Heisler
Yoni Heisler|@edibleapple|June 8, 2013 3:00 PM

Apple praised in China for environmental policiesChinese environmental activist Ma Jun recently said that Apple has made major strides towards becoming more environmentally friendly and transparent with respect to the company's operations in China.

While speaking at the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China, Ma explained that Apple has recently transfromed from a company that was completely closed off about its environmental practices in China to one of the more environmentally progressive tech companies in the country.

Adam Lashinsky of Fortune reports:

Ma is a well-known former journalist who has devoted considerable energy to water issues in China. His group collects pollution data on Chinese companies and shares it with Western companies to help them better understand the ramifications of their supply chain partners. He said Apple not only has begun cooperating with his organization, it has become a positive force on the overall supply chain ecosystem in China.

"They have gone the furthest in motivating key suppliers," Jun explained.

Since taking over CEO duties at Apple, Tim Cook has been outspoken about Apple's responsibility to uphold high standards with respect to both environmental and labor conditions abroad. For instance, following the series of Pulitzer Prize-winning hit pieces about Apple's operations in China, Cook penned a letter to Apple employees highlighting all that Apple does to create satisfactory working conditions while also promising that Apple will never "stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain."

Indeed, earlier this week covered how Cook, while speaking at Duke University this past April, explained that he views environmental responsibility as a key part of his framework of ethical leadership.

When I think of ethics, I think of leaving things better than you found them, and to me that goes from the environment to how you work with suppliers with labor questions to the carbon footprint of your products to the things you choose to support to the way you treat your employees. Your whole persona fits under that umbrella...

Fortune adds:

Apple typically maintains that its environmental and labor-rights records have always been good. Yet the Chinese group's report makes clear that if nothing else, Apple's attitude toward discussing its record and opening itself up to criticism have changed.

The report notes that there was a noticeable change in Apple's policies in China once Tim Cook assumed control of the company.

Lastly, and perhaps an indication of Apple's increased efforts to have a positive impact on the environment, Tim Cook revealed during this year's All Things D conference that Apple had recently hired former EPA chief Lisa Jackson to coordinate Apple's environmental practices.

Apple praised in China for environmental policies