IT firms need to clean up Chinese supply chains

Chinese non-governmental organizations are calling on major technology companies like HP, Apple, Sony and Vodafone to clean out polluters from their supply chains and inform the public about possible contamination from manufacturing, reports the Guardian.

An investigation by 34 Chinese environmental groups that the Guardian reported on names 29 companies that the NGOs feel need to be more accountable for their supplier choices.

The NGOs' report looks at how the production of electronics parts for the companies has resulted in lead and cadmium contamination. The Guardian writes:

Several of the cases have been widely reported but, until now, the focus of coverage has been on the Chinese factories involved and the weak oversight of environmental authorities. The new report adds a global context by highlighting the responsibility of the big IT firms higher up the supply chain to provide more information to the public and to ensure that low-cost production is not carried out at the expense of local people's health.

Some companies responded to the NGOs' request for information, while others did not, such as Vodafone and BT, which the NGOs said have been supplied by Narada Power Source, which used to source materials from Shanghang Huaqiang Battery, a company that was linked to 121 cases of lead poisoning in children.

Vodafone told the Guardian that Narada stopped working with Shanghang Huaqiang Battery after the lead poisoning incidents.

"If a brand calls itself environmentally friendly and in favour of sustainable development, they should be concerned if their supply chains violate environment regulations," Zhang Boju of Chinese NGO Friends of Nature told the Guardian. "The least they should do is to reply to our request for information."

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