Apple has made clear that it aims to make sure the working conditions in its supply chain are fair and safe. The latest is a conflict minerals report disclosing where the company gets its “subject minerals” (gold, columbite-tantaline, cassiterite, tantalum, tin, and tungsten) that are used to manufacture its products (via The Verge).
In the report, which looks back to calendar 2013, Apple details its process for obtaining conflict-free materials. Instead of funnelling its demand through a limited number of verified smelters, or those that are not sourcing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) or adjoining countries, Apple is pressuring smelters and refiners to comply with the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative’s Conflict-Free Smelter Program (the “CFSP”) or equivalent independent third-party audit programs.
During the past three calendar years, Apple has surveyed more than 400 suppliers and has identified to date 205 different smelters and refiners of subject materials for 2013, the report highlights.
Of those, 21 smelters and refiners were identified as sources of subject materials from the DRC. Of these 21, 17 were found to be CFSP-compliant, while the remaining 4 refiners have not yet been audited, the report notes.
The report was published just a few days before the June 2 deadline for US companies to unveil whether their products use subject materials from the DRC or adjacent countries.
You may recall that Apple published supplier responsibility report earlier this year disclosing its full list of suppliers, revealing that the company uses 20 global refiners whose tantalum has been verified to be conflict-free.