Apple Supports Healthcare Workers during COVID-19 Crisis
COVID-19 is a pneumonia-based illness that was first detected in Wuhan, China on December 31, 20191. In just a month, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 20201. To tackle this pandemic, healthcare personnel are working tirelessly to provide continuous patient care. However, to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening patients and materials, they need proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job. Currently PPE shortages are a tremendous challenge to the US healthcare system as 20% of healthcare facilities have no supply of N95 masks2, and 36% of these centres are out of face shields2.
At least 2,700 Uighurs found to be forcefully working in Apple’s supply chain
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published a report claiming that some factories which supply to 83 well-known global brands including Apple are using Uighurs – a persecuted ethnic minority from China’s Xinjiang region – as workers under forced labor conditions in China. In between 2017 and 2019 more than 80,000 Uighurs were transferred out of their native territory in Xinjiang to work in factories elsewhere in the country. The Chinese government maintains camps for Muslim ethnic minorities calls re-education camps act as vocational education centers and many Uighurs workers are pulled directly from these camps1. For every Uighur worker, private brokers, Government officials, and recipient companies receive cash compensations 2.
Apple involved once more in child labor scandal after 6 children die and 8 others are seriously injured in the DRC
According to the International Labour Organization, 218 million children aged between 5 and 17 years are in employment around the world; furthermore, around 73 million children are working in hazardous fields like mining 1. The mining industry is infamous for using child labor and unsafe working conditions that often lead to serious injuries and health consequences 6.
Apple increases rare earth elements (REE) recycling to reduce mining, improve environmental impact and ease trade tensions pressure.
Almost all technological products we use on a daily basis contain a group of minerals known as rare earth elements (REE), present in remote regions and complex to mine and purify. As an example, a generic smartphone uses about 16 REE coming from different parts of the world. Mining activity, manufacture and recycling have a bad environmental impact and it is urgent for big tech companies to address these issues. Yet, currently, only 1% of REE are recycled .
Apple developed a recycling program, which contributes to a more responsible consumption and production process
Disposal of electronic devices is a major challenge regarding responsible consumption and production. As a matter of fact, modern smartphones are made out of several materials which can produce toxic substances which endanger the environment and the human health. Due to the technological progress and obsolescence, the average life cycle of a smartphone is only two years. As a result, 41 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is generated each year.