Looks like there are more audits are in Apple’s future, this time exploring its environmental cost. The company has teamed up with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) to audit one of its Chinese circuit-board factories.
IPE, which is based in Beijing, will look into one of Apple’s printed circuit-board factories to measure pollutants and their effect on the environment. The current audit is only a pilot, however, and is not an indication of further joint investigations between Apple and IPE. The organization will post the results of the audit on its website, and hopes they will open the door to further audits with other Apple suppliers.
This is not the first time IPE has looked into Apple. In late 2011, the organization released a series of reports called, “The Other Side of Apple,” (PDF) detailing a few of Apple’s suppliers and their offenses against the environment.
Recently, Apple allowed the Fair Labor Association to audit its Foxconn factories in China. Foxconn had been accused of providing poor working conditions to its factory workers. Many employees complained about long hours, little pay for overtime, and small dormitories. A rash of recent worker suicides (related to Microsoft’s Xbox assembly lines) that prompted Foxconn to install suicide nets on its buildings drew additional scrutiny. The FLA performed a thorough audit in January 2012, concluding that Apple was, in fact, violating some of the FLA’s standards, as well as Chinese law. Apple and Foxconn have since agreed to make necessary changes.