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Apple accused of swerving MPs’ questions on its environmental record
15 September 2020, 11:54
A call for answers on the repairability of Apple devices comes as the firm prepares to launch its latest wave of products.
MPs have accused Apple of failing to answer questions about the environmental sustainability of its products, as the tech giant prepares to reveal new devices to the world.
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said the iPhone maker continues to swerve questions on its environmental record and how repairable its devices are.
Apple has pledged to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030, meaning every device it sells will have net-zero climate impact.
But committee chairman Philip Dunne said the firm’s “unwillingness” to address politicians leads him to believe its environmental obligations are “not taken seriously enough”.
Apple was invited and agreed to appear before MPs on July 16 for an inquiry into electronic waste but cancelled at short notice, the committee said.
Mr Dunne then wrote to Apple chief executive Tim Cook on August 4 seeking answers to a series of questions, asking for a response by September 4, but a reply is yet to be received.
MPs want to grill Apple about what it is doing to enhance the operating life of its products, as well as how it promotes repair, reuse and recycling.
So far, the committee said it had heard that it can be too expensive or even impossible for Apple products to be repaired, as well as claims that the firm prevents third parties from repairing its devices and restricts access to parts.
“Apple has made more than two billion iPhones – a phone for every person in the whole of Africa and Europe,” said Mr Dunne.
“Today, as Apple unveils its next generation of gadgets, my committee continues to wait for answers on what the company is doing to tackle its environmental footprint.
“With the speed at which new devices are brought to market, tech companies drive consumers to buy new products rather than prolonging the life of their existing items.
“It can also be very difficult to repair electronic devices, with many companies making it almost impossible – or if possible, very expensive – for consumers to have the ability to fix themselves.
“As a result, we’re seeing a throwaway society for electronics, and tech companies must take responsibility for the environmental impact that this causes.
“A circular economy with repair and recycling at its heart is crucial if we are to tackle the climate emergency.
“Apple appears to have a positive story to tell regarding its efforts on climate change. But its unwillingness to answer my committee’s questions has led us to believe its environmental obligation is not taken seriously enough.”