Apple axed 10 smelters and refiners from supply chain in 2017, maintains 100 percent parti...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2018
Apple issued its annual Conflict Minerals Report for the 2017 calendar year to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, noting the removal of 10 smelters and refiners that failed to participate with third-party audits in a timely manner, while another 6 were axed by partner suppliers.




According to the specialized disclosure, 100 percent of identified smelters and refiners in Apple's supply chain participated in independent third-party conflict mineral audits for the third straight year.

Apple's conflict minerals program, part of the company's human rights initiative, is designed to conform with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, a standard most recently modified in 2016.

Currently, the program covers sources of gold, columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, wolframite, tantalum, tin and tungsten. A total of 250 mineral suppliers were identified for the year ending on Dec. 31, 2017.

While Apple touts the 100 percent participation statistic, it says more must be done to "help end abuses caused by conflict and to protect human rights." To achieve that lofty goal, the company continued to work with a number of international bodies dedicated to responsible mineral mining operations.

In addition, Apple benchmarked the scope and requirements of third-party sustainability standards, analyzed which guidelines met responsible sourcing requirements and made that information public. Apple believes the effort has already seen success, saying its work has been used as a basis for new child and forced labor requirements added to the Mining Association of Canada's sustainability standards.

Aside from broad standards, Apple is taking steps to protect the people in its supply chain, the company says. Specifically, the program seeks to improve conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC") and adjoining countries, an area infamous for widespread use of child laborers.

Apple is also expanding risk assessment initiatives through its Risk Readiness Assessment survey. The company demands suppliers interact with mineral sources to complete the RRA, and this year 80 percent of identified smelters and refiners provided responses.

Additional steps taken in 2017 include participation in whistleblowing programs, reviewing and acting on incident reports, analyzing public allegations, publishing regular progress reports and promoting transparency.

As the world's largest tech company, Apple boasts a vast network of suppliers that spans the globe. On its own accord, and at times with pressure from NGOs and activist groups, the company has sought to rid its supply chain of bad actors, down to the material source level.

Apple's efforts have for the most part been successful, though claims of unethical sourcing continue to crop up from time to time. Most recently, a report from Amnesty International and DPR non-profit Afrewatch in January said child labor is being used to mine cobalt that makes its way into the supply chains of high-tech companies including Apple.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,862member
    I can almost guarantee Apple doesn't have perfect control over who does what and is using whom in these supply chains. Chinese suppliers and factories are a shell game. A company says they are doing something, but they'll job it out to another cheaper factory but still provide you with paperwork that assures you they are in compliance. It's a huge scam over there. And with China's expansion into African nations, the same practices go with them.
    edited March 2018 tallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 9
    No mention of Cobalt, the mining of which is rampant with child labour.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 337member
    It's a huge scam over there. And with China's expansion into African nations, the same practices go with them.
    Yes, it is.  But suppliers up the value chain who do that take on the huge risk of permanent expulsion from Apple’s list of approved suppliers.  Knowingly lie to Apple and get caught - you’re done.
    loquiturjony0lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 9
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Chinese suppliers and factories are a shell game. A company says they are doing something, but they'll job it out to another cheaper factory but still provide you with paperwork that assures you they are in compliance. It's a huge scam over there.
    China’s metal industry is a complete and utter joke. I’m not talking about nonsense like making buildings without foundations or substituting styrofoam, sand, and literal garbage for concrete. That’s something else entirely. I’m talking about ordering ASTI 304 steel, getting something that wouldn’t even pass 201 standards, and being told “You’re going to sue us? Our company only has a million RMB in capital. Good luck getting your money back!” since fraud in deals with foreigners is only a civil offense and not a criminal one.
    jony0airnerdSpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 9
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 337member
    ...  I’m talking about ordering ASTI 304 steel, getting something that wouldn’t even pass 201 standards ...
    This is the dirty little secret about Chinese steel.  Their specialty steels are not to be trusted.  A few years back the company I worked for at the time wanted to outsource some of their power generator components to a Chinese manufacturer.  We gave the supplier prints and specs from a proven design for a permanent magnet.  When we received the parts and assembled it the permanent magnet would not work, which perplexed everyone, until we tested the metal and found it was not what we asked for and not what they claimed.  We pulled sourcing back a short time thereafter.  Expensive lesson to learn.

    Imagine all the hand holding Apple has had to go through over the years to ensure quality in their Asian supply chain.  It must have been a staggering undertaking and a testament to Tim Cook.
    Soliairnerdtallest skil
  • Reply 6 of 9
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,021member
    Good job Apple!
    lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 9
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,485member
    Folks, it all nice and good that Apple is complying with Federal SEC rules about not using 3G materials, this only applies to US publically traded companies. If a company is not a US company and not publically trade on US exchanges there are no requirements for companies to do this. The biggest offender is China, and Chinese companies, who are actively buying and mining materials from these regions in Africa. Also, when the US put these rules in place and US companies began moving their source of raw materials out of Africa, this activity cause mines to shut down which open the door for ISIS to move in.

    You may feel good that Apple can claim their products are conflict material free, but most everything else you may be buying which has its origins in china are not free of conflict materials.

    This is just an example of rule that was put in place to make people feel good they tried to solve a problem, but in the end the problem still exists, in some cases it is now worse due to radicals moving in and taking advantage of the situation and we still have the material which we do not want is still finding its way into our country.

  • Reply 8 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,862member
    JWSC said:
    It's a huge scam over there. And with China's expansion into African nations, the same practices go with them.
    Yes, it is.  But suppliers up the value chain who do that take on the huge risk of permanent expulsion from Apple’s list of approved suppliers.  Knowingly lie to Apple and get caught - you’re done.
    Believe me, I've seen firsthand that the bigger factories use little ones which are not in compliance and no one is the wiser. I've seen it for myself and because I've seen it, I can say this.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    JWSC said:
    It's a huge scam over there. And with China's expansion into African nations, the same practices go with them.
    Yes, it is.  But suppliers up the value chain who do that take on the huge risk of permanent expulsion from Apple’s list of approved suppliers.  Knowingly lie to Apple and get caught - you’re done.
    Unless you're Foxconn. 
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