Apple praised for promoting conflict-free minerals trade

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Apple's doing its part. Many others are not.
Photo: Enough Project

Apple’s attempts at cleaning up its use of conflict minerals appears to be working, based on a new report which claims the company is the “clear leader in supporting a conflict-free minerals trade.”

Published today, Enough Project’s 2017 Conflict Minerals Company Rankings says that Apple, Alphabet, HP, Microsoft and Intel are leading the way in conflict-free sourcing from the Congo, while Walmart, Sears, and Neiman Marcus are ranked as the worst offenders.

The report examines 20 of the world’s largest consumer electronics and jewelry retail companies on their efforts to ensure their products aren’t linked to a range of abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the report notes:

“Apple emerged as the clear leader with its consistent fulfillment of the rankings criteria indicating that the company has committed substantial resources to developing processes for sourcing minerals from mines that benefit Congolese communities.”

Apple was also praised for finding better ways of addressing incidents within its own supply chain, and with helping “shared centralized platforms for risk assessment that other companies can use.”

The companies which fared worst on the list were seen as, “making little effort to combat the trade in conflict minerals from Congo.”

Potential conflict materials including tungsten, tantalum, and gold are used in a wide range of products, covering everything from wedding rings to smartphones. However, such minerals have also been linked to mass atrocities in eastern Congo due to their role in financing armed groups and state military units, who have committed serious abuses including rape and abductions.

During his time as Apple CEO, Tim Cook has continually pushed the idea that Apple has a social responsibility to act as a “force for good” in the world.

You can read the entire 2017 Conflict Minerals Company Rankings report here.