Two activist groups have claimed that Apple has promised to open up at least two Chinese plants to environmental inspectors.

A report on the USA Today website says that the Chinese-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs revealed details of an agreement it struck with Apple in January this week.

The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs has released reports about the use of toxic chemicals and hazardous waste leaks at companies suspected of being in Apple's supply chain in the past and Apple's offer was reportedly in response to these.

A US-based group also claimed to have been given assurances by Cupertino that inspections would be allowed to take place. Linda Greer, the director of the National Resources Defense Council's health program, told USA Today that Apple agreed to examinations of at least two of the 14 suppliers that Apple undertook its own environmental audits in 2011.

The results of the inspections will be made public, according to the pressure groups, though Apple has declined to comment on the report.

Inspections will be entirely independent of any other inspections that are currently taking place into working conditions and practices at Apple supplier. Plants belonging to key Apple supplier Foxconn are currently being examined.