Apple Faces Pressure to Support Climate Leaders in Vietnam

Red apple logo on side of building under blue sky

Photo by Yue Iris on Unsplash

by | Apr 11, 2024

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More than 60 global climate justice and human rights organizations have come together to address a pressing issue directly impacting Apple’s operations in Vietnam, its key manufacturing hub outside China. Today, the Vietnam Climate Defenders Coalition (VCDC), a collective of these organizations, delivered a public letter to Apple’s Leadership Team and Board of Directors urging the tech giant to take a stand against the systematic persecution of climate leaders in Vietnam.

The VCDC highlights a concerning trend in Vietnam, where ambiguous laws are leveraged to detain leading environmental activists under dubious charges such as “tax evasion” and “appropriation of information or documents.” These actions suppress vital climate advocacy and raise questions about the feasibility of a just energy transition in Vietnam, especially following the nation’s $15.5 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement with G7 countries, including the U.K., the U.S., and others. The crackdown on civil society and environmental organizations poses a significant barrier to independent monitoring and accountability, which is essential for a genuine transition to clean energy.

Apple is at the heart of this dilemma, given its significant economic footprint in Vietnam and its public commitments to equity, justice in climate solutions, and a net-zero carbon impact across its product lifecycle by 2030. The VCDC’s letter poses a poignant question to the Cupertino-based company: “How can Apple accomplish its clean energy goals while increasing manufacturing in a country that is silencing its climate leaders?”

VCDC released this public communication just before Apple’s 2024 Environmental Progress Report anticipated publication to encourage the company to reaffirm its dedication to its stated values of equity and justice in climate solutions. Despite previous communications, including letters and meetings with Apple’s team since May 2023, the VCDC notes that the company has yet to respond or take visible action regarding the situation in Vietnam.

The letter details the arrest and imprisonment of several critical Vietnamese climate advocates, including a Goldman Environmental Prize winner and an Obama Foundation Scholar, who have both been instrumental in advancing clean energy and environmental protection in Vietnam. According to the VCDC, these arrests contradict Apple’s ecological and human rights commitments and threaten the integrity of the global push for climate solutions.

Apple’s response to the VCDC’s call to action may define its role in the global effort against climate change and the protection of human rights.

As the 61 signatories ask: “How could Apple not take a public stance, knowing that it could make all the difference?”

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