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Apple addresses concerns over products using illegally mined tin

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In a recent update to its Supplier Responsibility webpage, Apple revealed that concerns over use of illegally mined tin its products has prompted the company to lead a fact-finding mission in Indonesia.

Materials


First spotted by The Verge, Apple added a brief paragraph to its Supplier Responsibility webpage, explaining that "recent concerns" over illegal tin mining in Bangka Island, Indonesia called for a fact-finding visit to the region.

In addition, the company also set up a specialized environmental working group with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) to deal with the issue. Apple is also helping to fund a new study on mining in the region to "better understand the situation."

The EICC's mission statement says the body was created to "enable companies to improve the social and environmental conditions in the global electronics supply chain." Members are required to comply with guideline set forth by the EICC bylaws.

According to Apple, 249 of its suppliers use tin in their products, which source the metal from 64 tin smelters. The company notes that the smelter list is constantly changing.

It is unclear what products contain the potentially illegally mined tin, though a bulk of Apple's devices contain the metal.
post #2 of 16
Can't remember the last time any other manufacturer admitted to anything negative without being outed first. Just one more reason to by Apple products.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

Can't remember the last time any other manufacturer admitted to anything negative without being outed first. Just one more reason to by Apple products.

Other then the protest a few days ago complaining about the illegally mined tin used in Apple products.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali4nr View Post


Other then the protest a few days ago complaining about the illegally mined tin used in Apple products.

 

The protest was about "conflict" minerals from the Congo.  Get an atlas.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The protest was about "conflict" minerals from the Congo.  Get an atlas.

The whole problem with the idea of "conflict minerals" is that effectively you as a company are taking sides in a dispute. Often there is not enough context with respect to the conflict to know which side to take. Apple should either stay out of the area completely or simply ignore the concept of conflict materials.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


The whole problem with the idea of "conflict minerals" is that effectively you as a company are taking sides in a dispute. Often there is not enough context with respect to the conflict to know which side to take. Apple should either stay out of the area completely or simply ignore the concept of conflict materials.

 

Indeed.   That still doesn't make the Congo a part of Indonesia however. 

post #7 of 16

The Apple funded study will find that nothing bad is taking place and that all is on the up and up with Apple's suppliers and Apple products.

post #8 of 16

All consumer electronics use tin. Apple is not a tin smelter and they have no direct control over buying tin ore. They are doing all they can do to investigate, which is more than any other consumer electronics company I know.

 

It's always stunning to see how some people hold a single consumer electronics company solely responsible for entire other industries, and ignore every other consumer electronics company on the planet using the same materials. It must be something magical about Apple.

post #9 of 16

Although it's nice that Apple is checking for other controversial sources, this kind of investigation is not restricted to Apple.

 

Last year, the SEC adopted rules that require EVERY company in the US that builds products with tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold to make YEARLY investigations to make sure the minerals didn't come from the Congo.

 

Apple, Boeing among Thousands of Companies Explaining Metal Origins to SEC - Bloomberg

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Last year, the SEC adopted rules that require EVERY company in the US that builds products with tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold to make YEARLY investigations to make sure the minerals didn't come from the Congo.

 

 

Yes, every company must follow the conflict material rules, but I can tell you from first hand experience it comes down to a chain of unenforcible paperwork pushing requirements down the supply chain to someone who might actually have some control over the source of tin. All the nice paperwork is filed, all the asses are covered, a lot of expense is added and in the end it boils down to whether the source of tin (not the many manufacturers, assemblers or designers caught up in this) is telling the truth.

 

It is feel good motion with little effect other than increasing costs.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyPaul View Post

All consumer electronics use tin. Apple is not a tin smelter and they have no direct control over buying tin ore. They are doing all they can do to investigate, which is more than any other consumer electronics company I know.

 

It's always stunning to see how some people hold a single consumer electronics company solely responsible for entire other industries, and ignore every other consumer electronics company on the planet using the same materials. It must be something magical about Apple.

 

Even dumber, I've read two articles already that referred to "Apple's tin mines."  And they weren't blogs either.  Big news sites.  We are truly living in the age of idiots. 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The protest was about "conflict" minerals from the Congo.  Get an atlas.

Ouch. I guess you told me.

http://www.tuaw.com/2013/07/08/apples-destroying-tropical-forests-wrecking-lives-according/


Oh, but good use of quote marks and bold font, it makes you look very "intelligent".
post #13 of 16

First spotted by The Verge:  surprise, surprise. I was watching a Verge video the other day and it was making fun of the WWDC keynote and was sponsored by Samsung.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali4nr View Post




Other then the protest a few days ago complaining about the illegally mined tin used in Apple products.

 

And, of course, we all know ONLY Apple might use illegally minded tin in their products. No other company would ever allow this to happen, EVER. I sure will be glad when this evil-to-the-core company is driven out of business by ecologically minded consumers who choose to buy from ethical companies like Samsung and Dell.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

And, of course, we all know ONLY Apple might use illegally minded tin in their products. No other company would ever allow this to happen, EVER. I sure will be glad when this evil-to-the-core company is driven out of business by ecologically minded consumers who choose to buy from ethical companies like Samsung and Dell.

 

Why make up stuff?

 

Nobody said it was just Apple.  (See previous link pointing out the thousands of companies involved.)   It's just that Apple is well known and liked, and just as with any media star, it gets coverage.

 

In fact, in this case, it was Apple who posted what they were doing, in order to GET the publicity.

post #16 of 16
Actually, Apple did not "set up a special working group" with EICC, it joined an existing one.

Most major OEMs and ODM belong to EICC and report though that channel, it is very standard in the industry.

BTW, the Apple page link is dead.
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