Apple Ranked as 'Clear Leader' in its Efforts to Source Conflict-Free Minerals From Supply Chain

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Apple has been designated the "clear leader" in its methods of supporting a conflict-free minerals trade throughout its supply chain. The title was awarded to the company in a report published by the Enough Project, called the 2017 Conflict Minerals Company Rankings, in which Apple sits at the #1 spot. Rounding out the top 5 spots are Alphabet/Google at #2, HP at #3, Microsoft at #4, and Intel at #5.

The new Conflict Minerals Company Rankings look at 20 of the world's largest companies in two of the industries that the Enough Project says "consume the most" tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold: consumer electronics and jewelry retail. These minerals are referred to as conflict minerals because they're most often related to being sourced within war-torn countries that mine the minerals with little to no respect for workers' rights.

Chart via the Enough Project


The Enough Project gathered these top 20 companies and awarded points to each based on the policies and practices that they enact regarding responsible mineral sourcing, with the lowest on the list designated as companies most in need of "considerable and urgent need for more action." In total, the companies were ranked based on four core categories:
- Conducting Conflict Minerals Sourcing Due Diligence and Reporting
- Developing a Conflict-Free Minerals Trade and Sourcing Conflict-Free Minerals from Congo, Particularly Gold
- Supporting and Improving Livelihoods for Artisanal Mining Communities in Eastern Congo
- Conflict-Free Minerals Advocacy
In its full report, Apple is placed in the "Outstanding Company Efforts" section, which represents the companies "going above and beyond to get more directly at the heart of maintaining robust due diligence practices and sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo." Specifically, Apple is the only company to receive full credits for identifying and following up with supply chain incidents reported to it by suppliers and other sources. Apple has "clearly demonstrated its commitment" to scouring for red flags related to these reports and taking action by dropping suppliers and others in its supply chain that turn out to be noncompliant with its standards.

After developing its Risk Readiness Assessment program in order to help identify conflict minerals sourcing in its supply chain, among other risk-related sourcing factors, Apple partnered with the Responsible Business Alliance in order to make this program widely accessible to other companies. According to the Enough Project, this put Apple above and beyond all other companies ranked on the list.
Apple not only has found better ways of addressing incidents within its own supply chain, but it has also helped develop shared centralized platforms for risk assessment that other companies can use. This extra effort contributes to the overall strengthening of conflict minerals supply chain due diligence.
The Enough Project's report follow a separate study published by Amnesty International earlier this week, which described Apple as the industry leader in responsible cobalt sourcing. That report said Apple has taken "adequate" action in terms of sourcing conflict-free minerals, earning a top ranking alongside Samsung in the same category.

Apple annually discusses this part of the supply chain in its Supplier Responsibility Reports, which typically come out around February and March. This year's report highlighted cobalt supplier audits in the Congo, its "highest ever" work hour compliance, and discussed the success of Apple's Supplier Education Program. These reports are intended to show the strides that Apple takes to improve the work lives of its device manufacturing employees, who work to create products including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more.

To see more of the Enough Project's 2017 Conflict Minerals Company Rankings, visit the project's website here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Ranked as 'Clear Leader' in its Efforts to Source Conflict-Free Minerals From Supply Chain
 

thisisnotmyname

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When the sample size is 20 with a somewhat amorphous statement like “of the largest companies in two industries” and the author is an advocacy group I start wondering if they cherry picked the 20 to contrast and shame some desired targets.
 

Chupa Chupa

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When the sample size is 20 with a somewhat amorphous statement like “of the largest companies in two industries” and the author is an advocacy group I start wondering if they cherry picked the 20 to contrast and shame some desired targets.
I don't think it absolves any company. If it shames those in the middle and bottom tiers they surely deserve it. Certainly there are more, but these are among the biggest retailers and stores in the world. If anything why is NM, Sears, and JCP on the list. They are dead stores walking.
 
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deanthedev

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Curious. In regards to cobalt, Apple and Samsung get top marks. But in this study, Samsung is a bottom feeder with a score 1/7 of Apple.
 
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norbinhouston

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Thank goodness. If Apple didn't come in first, it would add another bullet point to the Apple Hater's manual, and we'd never hear the end of it. lol.
 

Sharkoneau

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Good to see they've made huge strides here, being able to source at scale while keeping things clean. Other companies rhyming with Ramrung are fueling exploitation practices when they source conflict materials.

Curious. In regards to cobalt, Apple and Samsung get top marks. But in this study, Samsung is a bottom feeder with a score 1/7 of Apple.
True, but they also looked at "tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold," gold being one of the most important. Samsung's marks must be THAT bad regarding the other minerals in question.
 
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adamjackson

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Curious. In regards to cobalt, Apple and Samsung get top marks. But in this study, Samsung is a bottom feeder with a score 1/7 of Apple.
....right and if a large amount of iPhone components come from Samsung, shouldn't that bring Apple down a bit? It's weird that Apple gets praise while still using components from Toshiba, Samsung and others.
 

DNichter

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Samsung is pretty terrible in this area. Not sure why people support this company (if you reside in the US). I'd rather support an American company that prides itself in quality, recyclable materials, security, and privacy. Throw in social values as well. Samsung is just a knock off company that can scale.
 

ocnitsa

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Horrible! Tim Cook is a liberal ruining Apple! Apple should only be trying to make the most money inhumanely possible!!! (Sarcasm)
 

thisisnotmyname

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I don't think it absolves any company. If it shames those in the middle and bottom tiers they surely deserve it. Certainly there are more, but these are among the biggest retailers and stores in the world. If anything why is NM, Sears, and JCP on the list. They are dead stores walking.
Methodology and source make me skeptical here. Add to that the fact that the two worst listed for consumer electronics are suppliers to Apple makes me question the rankings even further. Totally agree that making your targets companies that won't exist in five years is silly (although I thought Neiman Marcus was bucking the department store retail trend, maybe that's changed). In any case, advocacy group makes a press release that supports their mission, news at eleven.
 

Chupa Chupa

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Methodology and source make me skeptical here. Add to that the fact that the two worst listed for consumer electronics are suppliers to Apple makes me question the rankings even further. Totally agree that making your targets companies that won't exist in five years is silly (although I thought Neiman Marcus was bucking the department store retail trend, maybe that's changed). In any case, advocacy group makes a press release that supports their mission, news at eleven.
Fair enough.
 

H2SO4

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Samsung is pretty terrible in this area. Not sure why people support this company (if you reside in the US). I'd rather support an American company that prides itself in quality, recyclable materials, security, and privacy. Throw in social values as well. Samsung is just a knock off company that can scale.
Have the courage of your convictions then and refuse to buy anything that has significant Samsung input, (iPhone, etc. etc).

I thought not.
 

Naraxus

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It's just a shame that Apple won't devote that same due diligence to those that actually make their products.....
 

dfs

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The authors of this study seem to be focused on Africa. But then there's lithium, vital for all those batteries we so dearly love to use. And it appears to be the case that the single most lithium-rich country in the world is ...um...Afghanistan.
 

deanthedev

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....right and if a large amount of iPhone components come from Samsung, shouldn't that bring Apple down a bit? It's weird that Apple gets praise while still using components from Toshiba, Samsung and others.
Large amount of Samsung components? Have you seen an iFixit teardown of iPhones recently? You might want to think about that again.

Further, the rating for a company like Toshiba is overall. It doesn’t mean every single component they make gets the same low score. Apple is notorious for how strict they are in terms of components they order.

For example, years ago companies started to replace lead solder for newer lead-free versions. A supplier could produce lead-free circuit boards for one company and older lead versions for others. If most of their customers (as in those who make cheap devices or don’t care) still used lead versions the overall rating for that company would be low.
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Have the courage of your convictions then and refuse to buy anything that has significant Samsung input, (iPhone, etc. etc).

I thought not.
I buy Samsung SSDs for all my gaming rigs because they have pretty much the best ones.

Nothing else they make is worth me spending money on. And iPhones have very little “Samsung input”.
 
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