That Green Apple is Getting Mushy

It's not easy being green -- especially if you're an Apple that everyone is looking for imperfections in. Consider how Procurement Leaders recently ran an article that caught my attention that details the background on how Apple's sustainability reporting is coming under fire. According to the article, "Apple is coming under fire from environmental campaigners who believe that the company is falling short when it comes to sustainability reporting." It's not helping Apple's naysayers that the tech giant is advising "shareholders that they vote against a proposal for more corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting." What is catching the ire of Apple's opponents? The use of inexpensive labor to produce iPod's, among other accusations, not to mention a "failure to publish information on its policies regarding the use of toxic chemicals in its products."

Inserting my contemporary spend lens, I can forgive Apple on the first issue, but not the second. Given the state of the 2009 economy, anyone working in a factory -- provided that the supplier is meeting acceptable levels of pay and providing adequate working conditions -- in a developing market should be happy to have a job at all. And pay may even drop this year. But on the second issue, Apple should come forth with greater details and should invest in supplier management programs that track environmental compliance more closely. Even the downturn is not an excuse for not being green in an industry which is leading the way in defining environmental standards for toxic metals and the overall carbon impact of production.

- Jason Busch

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