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BW Businessworld

Apple India: Leading By Example

Apple India, working with Wistron at a supplier facility in India since 2017, acquired a zero-waste to landfill certification in record time

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


Technology giant Apple has redefined its brand across a few decades. The word ‘Apple’ is today synonymous with splendour and technology. Founded by Steve Jobs and his partners in the late 1970s, Apple is among the world’s largest conglomerates. What began as a computer company now makes a wide range of devices and software including smartphones, computers, smart watches and many IoT devices. In August 2018, Apple became the first US brand to be valued at more than $1 trillion. Apple’s smartphone, the iPhone, is a major contributor to Apple’s revenue, accounting for 62 per cent of it during the third quarter of 2018.

Earlier in November, the Cupertino-based tech giant announced financial results for the fourth quarter of the 2018 fiscal ended September 29 (Q2 of FY 2018-19). Apple posted a quarterly revenue of $62.9 billion, a 20 per cent jump over a year ago. “We’re thrilled to report another record-breaking quarter that caps a tremendous fiscal 2018, the year in which we shipped our 2 billionth iOS device, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store and achieved the strongest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Apple India appears in BW Businessworld’s list of the Most Respected Companies, not simply because its US principal brings its product quality and leadership in technology to India, but also because its global best practices work in India too.

As Richard Rothman, MD, OpenMind Opportunity Consultancy, points out, “Respected brands consistently follow a clear mission focused on delivering highly relevant value to customers, and constantly evolve this mission to increase value. Their entire business model is built around executing this mission, and divergence is only tolerated in order to enhance relevance. For example, Apple’s original implicit mission was to ‘make computers simple so everyone can use them’. As the environment changed, providing new opportunities to provide relevance to the same customers, Apple’s mission evolved to ‘make technology simple’ so everyone can use it.” Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst, Devices & Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research, says, “Apple is associated with ‘quality’ amongst Indian consumers. Apple is still an aspirational brand in India, as it has been restricted to the premium category. Majority of consumers may not have any past experience with the brand, but they still desire the brand due to the reputation it has earned globally, its product aesthetics and American roots”.

In 2017 Apple introduced a special health programme for women with suppliers in India and China. In the programme, participants learn about nutritional, maternal, and preventive healthcare and are encouraged to share what they learn with their co-workers, families, and friends. Apple is also reducing its impacts on the environment by diverting manufacturing waste from landfills. In 2017, 100 per cent of the company’s final assembly facilities for iPhone were zero-waste certified. To help its suppliers achieve this objective, the company offers tools and guidance, including the services of experts in sustainable waste management solutions. Since 2015, 6,25,000 metric tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfills — enough to cover 2,545 metre-deep soccer fields.

Apple India began working with Wistron at a new supplier facility in India  in 2017 and soon acquired a zero-waste to landfill certification in record time. The programme provides Wistron India employees with more recycling and waste segregation knowledge, inspiring them to implement their learnings at home and has found support from the local government to build a ‘Clean Bengaluru’. Since 2008, Apple has created education programmes dedicated to advancing the careers of  its suppliers’ employees. The SEED (Supplier Employee Education and Development) programme helps current employees study fields in which they are most interested. Since its inception, 2.5 million people have participated and more than 12,000 have enrolled for a degree.