Apple has released its latest supplier responsibility report that outlines the companyâ€™s resolve to crack down on the use of minerals from conflict-ridden regions of the world. The tech giant specifically pledged to stop using minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo that could fund war and human rights abuse.
Appleâ€™s latest endeavor is a key step towards upholding ethical sourcing and manufacturing standards across the technology industry. The company announced that its hardware factories did not use tantalum, a metal used in electronics manufacturing, from conflict zones. It is also working with its suppliers to ensure that metals such as tin, tungsten and gold are sourced from conflict-free zones only.
As an important measure to counter this problem, Apple has started publicizing which of its suppliers may be sourcing minerals from areas engaged in warfare. Its first published list provides details of 104 suppliers that have not been verified for compliance with ethical standards. The company said that ethical sourcing of minerals is a critical part of its commitment to provide safe and fair working conditions.
Congo Calling, a UK-based campaign group that has called for greater transparency in mineral sourcing said that Appleâ€™s announcement deserves to be applauded. The group is pushing for the entire global electronics industry to change the way it conducts its business.
Apple’s senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said that the company is focused on getting a critical mass of suppliers verified so that it can truly influence the demand situation and bring meaningful change.
Appleâ€™s supplier responsibility report also informed that the company has surveyed the environmental risks at 520 supplier sites in 2013. It focused on its top 200 suppliers to help provide them with sustainable training tools and reduce their environmental impact. The company also launched the Clean Water Program pilot in 2013 to promote water recycling and work towards preventing illegal water pollution from its supply network.
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