Apple Inc. has made record achievements in suppliers' responsibility, according to the company's 11th annual supplier responsibility report on Monday.
One hundred percent of process chemicals at all final assembly facilities were free of Apple-restricted substances, according to report highlights available on Apple's official website.
In 2016, work-hour compliance among Apple's suppliers reached 98 percent, which is its "highest ever," the highlights indicate.
Apple assesses supplier performance in labor and human rights, environment, health and safety based on a 100-point scale for each category.
"By working closely with our suppliers, we were able to increase the number of high-performing supplier sites by 59 percent," said the Apple report.
High-performing suppliers are those with scores of 90 to 100 points according to Apple's assessment standards.
Suppliers are "truly making progress" as Apple pushes the bar even higher, said Paula Pyers, senior director in charge of Apple's supply chain social responsibility, in a telephone interview on Monday.
The number of Apple supplier sites participating in its Energy Efficiency program tripled in 2016, leading to a total carbon emission reduction of 150,000 metric tons.
More than 99 percent of the paper in Apple's packaging comes from sustainable forests, recycled wood fiber, or controlled wood sources.
"For the first time, our final assembly suppliers in China have achieved 100 percent certification of zero waste landfill, which was a huge success this year," said Pyers.
Apple took the lead by mapping its supply chain from manufacturing to the smelter for tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in 2010.
The latest report says mapping has been completed and third-party audits were completed for tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold, and cobalt.
Pollution from the IT industry comes mostly from raw materials, according to Ma Jun, director of Beijing-based Institute of Public Environmental Affairs (IPE).
Apple removed 22 smelters from its supply chain in 2016 because they were unable or ultimately unwilling to comply with its standards.
"We are not quick to walk away from partners for failure to perform, " said Pyers.
She said Apple tackles problems by teaching and training, giving the example of Dynacast Suzhou, which had a very low performance in the first assessment.
For six months, Apple's team worked together with the supplier, which specializes in die casting and metal injection molding, to build better hazardous waste management systems and improve chemical handling safety.
The reassessment score of Dynacast jumped to 95. The supplier has since decided to adopt Apple's assessment protocol and standards to audit its own suppliers.