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Apple has been commended by Chinese environmental protestor Ma Jun for its ‘aggressive’ adoption of progressive ecological policies in China. The Cupertino company, which at first refused to cooperate with the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), has actually gone further than any of its peers in the innovation industry, Ma said.

“They’ve actually gone the furthest in inspiring vital suppliers,” stated Ma, who’s director of the IPE, at the Fortune Global Online forum in China– before announcing Apple is ‘one of the most proactive IT suppliers.’

This marks a big change for Apple, which did not wish to enter into a relationship with the IPE at first. In truth, of the 29 major Western corporations Ma contacted about cooperating with the IPE’s environmental work, Apple was the only one that didn’t react.

‘They said they’d a long-lasting policy against’ participating with such groups, Ma stated. However after his group released two reports that criticized the iPhone maker, it soon altered its mind.

‘They approached us,’ Ma said. ‘They stated, ‘We require openness.”

Ma is a previous journalist who now dedicates his time to ecological problems in China. His group collects pollution information on Chinese business and afterwards shares it with those in the Western world to help them much better comprehend the impacts their supply chain partners are having on the world.

Interestingly, it appears the bulk of Apple’s work with the IPE started in 2012, after the fatality of business co-founder and previous Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs. It’s believed that it’s new CEO Tim Cook who wants making Apple a more eco-friendly company– particularly in China.

Cook became the first Apple Chief Executive Officer to see a Foxconn factory last year, and he’s been working to improve Apple’s effect there ever since. Although he has not fulfilled Ma personally yet, Ma has actually held meeting with other high-level Apple executives.