Friday, March 7, 2014

Mega-polluter Apple doesn't want you unless you're green

If you don’t believe we’re destroying the planet through global warming then Apple doesn’t want your money. That was the message from CEO Tim Cook at a recent shareholders meeting. Cook told so-called climate denier investors that if they didn’t like the company wasting money on “green” initiatives they “should get out of this stock.”

Cook said Apple does many things that have nothing to do with return on investment because, “We want to leave the world better than we found it.” Really? Apple has been repeatedly singled out by environmental groups as being a huge polluter in China. And not
of CO2, which is not a pollutant, but of real pollution. Apple suppliers throughout China often “fail to properly dispose of hazardous waste,” according to the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing. 

At one factory that makes iPhone screens, 137 workers were seriously injured by toxic chemicals used to make the product. Apple has been urged to move its factories back to the United States but it’s doubtful many of these factories could pass EPA standards.

One iPhone supplier, Pegatron, has been criticized for all sorts of problems including improper disposal of waste, poor working conditions and excessive hours for its employees as well as crowded living conditions. One Apple supplier had to put netting around the top of its plant because workers were jumping to their deaths to escape the horrid working conditions.

Oh, yeah, Tim. You’re leaving the world better than you found it.

I had an Apple “genius” at the Apple store inform me sometime back that Apple was bigger than Exxon Mobil. I thought big corporations were evil. That’s what Occupy Wall Street folks were telling us through Twitter tweets and postings on Facebook on their Apple computers while sipping their lattes from Starbucks. These occupiers are walking advertisements for big corporations. I’m sure they Googled how evil Big Business is.

So, somehow Apple is “green” because it wastes money on green energy projects that lose money. It’s the carbon offsets mentality. Put your money in some so-called green venture and you get to pollute all you want. It’s time we called them on it.

I love Apple products. I’m bringing you this column courtesy of the MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone as do my kids. Hypocritical? Perhaps, but Samsung is just as bad. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find any phone that’s not made in China. Now, I could join the Amish and give up electronics altogether (which, quite frankly, sounds very appealing sometimes) or I can continue to rail on China as I have been for the last 20 years.

China is the common denominator in all of this. There is no EPA in China. There’s no Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act. The communist Chinese don’t give a damn about the people or the environment and corporations have taken the path of least resistance. It’s time they took the path of coexistence, as they’ve been preaching with those annoying bumper stickers. It’s time the electronics industry cleaned up its act and Apple is in a perfect position to lead the way. They made almost $42 billion last year. We hear liberals all the time saying corporations don’t need to make that much. They chastise McDonald’s for not raising the minimum wage, asking how much does one company really need to make. McDonald’s made $5.4 billion. Apple made 7 times the profit of McDonald’s and McDonald’s is the villain?

The last time I checked people weren’t throwing themselves from the rooftops of McDonald’s.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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