Sometimes petitions work. Five months ago, two activist groups - China Labor Watch and Green America - launched a petition to ask Apple to investigate the use of the chemicals benzene and n-hexane in the production of its iDevices. Apple, who has been making big efforts lately to become more environmentally friendly, published a letter by its green head honcho Lisa Jackson, formerly the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to say that it has decided to explicitely ban the two chemicals from iPhone and iPad assembly, even though they didn't seem to be a problem so far (better safe than sorry).
Recently, we received some questions about whether the chemicals benzene and n-hexane are used in the manufacturing of our products. Apple treats any allegations of unsafe working conditions extremely seriously. We took immediate investigative action, sending specialized teams into each of our 22 final assembly facilities, and found no evidence of workers’ health being put at risk. We’ve updated our tight restrictions on benzene and n-hexane to explicitly prohibit their use in final assembly processes.
This is a welcome step forward for Apple, following others like the removal of PVC, mercury, and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its gadgets. We hope that its competitors will copy the move.
If you're a chemical geek, here are the detailed specifications that they're sending their suppliers. They intend to hold them accountable by doing some internal and third party testing to make sure that they follow the new directives.
Apple has also invested big bucks in clean energy. They are currently the only tech giant to power 100% of its data centers with renewable energy, according to Greenpeace.