New Report Says Apple's Battery Suppliers Use Cobalt Mined by Child Labor

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Child labor is being used in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to mine cobalt, a mineral used in lithium-ion batteries found in devices from Apple, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and car manufacturers Daimler and Volkswagen, according to a new report by Amnesty International.


    The report says that local traders buy cobalt from areas with child labor and sell it to Congo Dongfang Mining, a subsidiary of Chinese mineral company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Ltd, also known as Huayou Cobalt. Huayou Cobalt then processes and sells the cobalt to three battery component manufacturers -- Toda Hunan Shanshen New Material, Tianjin Bamo Technology and L&F Materal -- who sell to battery makers that claim to supply technology companies like Apple and Samsung.

    When Amnesty International contacted the 16 companies listed as customers of those battery makers, one admitted to a connection, four weren't sure, six were investigating the claims and five denied the claim. Cobalt is not a regulated market, according to Amnesty International, and it is not listed as a "conflict" mineral in the United States like the gold, tin and tungsten mined in the DRC.

    Apple provided a statement to the BBC, saying that "underage labor is never tolerated in our supply chain and we are proud to have led the industry in pioneering new safeguards." The company also pointed out that it has "rigorous audits" and any supplier found using child labor is forced to fund the worker's safe return home, finance the worker's education, continue to pay the worker's wages and offer him or her a job when he or she reaches the legal age. Apple also said that it is looking into the cobalt charge.
    This isn't the first time one of Apple's suppliers has been found using child labor. In 2013 Apple revealed that it terminated business with one Chinese supplier after finding out that they were using child labor. That same year Apple formed an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program to assist in creating safe workspaces wherever its products are made.

    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: New Report Says Apple's Battery Suppliers Use Cobalt Mined by Child Labor
  2. Robert.Walter macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2012
    A new item to address in the next sustainability report.

    I do wonder, however, why apple isn't just backtracking the raw material chain in its products now.

    Yes it is a big expensive task but rather than be blindsided by these topics every two years or so, Apple should just get way the hell out in front of the topic and let the other companies try to catch up.
  3. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    "New Report Says Apple's Battery Suppliers Use Cobalt Mined by Child Labor" just doesn't get the same number of clicks as the honest headline, "New Report Says Battery Suppliers Use Cobalt Mined by Child Labor".
  4. Jax44 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2010
    Carmel, California
    Child Confict Congo Cobalt Concerns Cook.

    Amazon shares up 3%
  5. Gasu E., Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016

    Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    Huh? There's nothing in the article about an Apple supplier using child labor. AI claims that cobalt is mined in the DRC using child labor. That cobalt is then sold on the world markets. Apple buys batteries from its suppliers, who manufacture them using cobalt bought on these markets. If it's like any other commodity, there could be any number of intermediaries in the chain. Basically any battery using cobalt would likely have a little bit that was mined using child labor.

    The article says:

    - there are areas with child labor
    - cobalt from these areas is bought from the mines by local traders. Note the article never says definitively that children work in the cobalt mines
    - local traders sell it to Congo Dongfan Mining/Huayou Cobalt
    - Huayou Cobalt sells the process Cobalt to three battery component makers
    - the battery component makers turn the cobalt into components and sell to unnamed battery makers
    - these battery makers "claim" to sell to Apple, Samsung, car manufacturers, etc.

    Not only are there enough hedging words to make the chain less than definitive, but there are FOUR intermediaries between Apple and the possible child labor.
  6. dwfaust macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    What I find most disingenuous is the fact that Apple always gets these types of headlines... despite the fact that the other manufacturers are also as culpable (or not culpable) as Apple.

    In this age low-information, some will read the headline, blame Apple and not bother reading even the first paragraph of the article.
  7. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    New Investigation Finds Reporters from MacRumors and AppleInsider Use Devices Manufactured With Cobalt Mined by Child Labor
  8. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2014
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    They'll take it, and in their minds, think "Apple demands that child labor be used by contract in the mining of Cobalt."
  9. TonyC28 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2009
    I found this article about myself:
    "Illinois man uses iPhone purchased from Apple which uses a battery made by another company who used parts bought from another company who got their cobalt from child labor."
  10. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
    Relax everybody. It's not just Apple. You can keep your iHalos.

  11. iOSFangirl6001 macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2015
    Perhaps a bit conspiritish on my part but going to go with similar past notions here that someone is likely trying to paint Apple in a bad light again

    **hides** SorryNotSorry

    LOL Touché well played.
  12. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Not sure what I think of this. A supplier is found exploiting children, and they get to buy their way out of it? Plus when they're older the kids might end up working at the very company that exploited them?

    I'm not saying I know what the right solution is, but this doesn't seem like it.
  13. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I think Apple (Cook), brings the bullseye on itself with all the self righteous boasting on equality, fairness, the environment, etc. Are they alone in their indirect use of child labor? Or countries that could care less about the environment? Nope. But when they champion themselves as the moral standard, then of course the finger points on them first. And rightly so.
  14. furi0usbee, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2016

    furi0usbee macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    I can't blame Apple for stuff like this. They can't control other companies/countries. Problem is that most parts of the world are not civilized, as we understand that term to be. If we really knew the extent of this type of thing around the world, I'm sure we wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
  15. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    VW can't catch a break ..... GOOD, they deserve it.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2016 ---
    But Apple's an American company .....That's so not like the USA. :eek::eek::eek::eek::cool::cool::cool::cool:
  16. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Yep, cos on an Apple website we should see, ’New report says BMW use ……….’. In this age of information everywhere we can all do our own research maybe? There are others and they are/have been/will be, documented. Do you frequent a Samsung forum? No, then you might just miss any similar headlines that they have.
    Of course other manufacturers are involved. Shall we list them all, if so you’ll need Apples retina display to fit all the text on?
  17. rdlink, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2016

    rdlink macrumors 68040


    Nov 10, 2007
    Out of the Reach of the FBI
    Or you can take the more reasonable approach that this article should have never been on Macrumors. Because it's not a story about Apple per se, but about an industry that potentially uses child labor, that also happens to supply a commodity that is used in batteries that go into the products sold by numerous companies.
  18. H2SO4, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2016

    H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Then I hope you were consistent in applying that same comment to all other such posts. But oh wait, you aren’t. Apple are massive players in this industry and that is why the story is here.
  19. rdlink macrumors 68040


    Nov 10, 2007
    Out of the Reach of the FBI
    BS. The story is here because it's click bait. You know it and your disingenuous, or you don't know it and you're ignorant.
  20. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2011
    Why isn't this on the front page of MacRumors?
  21. robotica macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Buy a cobalt mine then you can be 100% sure where the cobalt/other materials come from... Sounds like something the richest company in the world could do.
  22. gijoeinla, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016

    gijoeinla macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Betting this was the "angle" heard on Fox News no doubt.

    Cobalt mining equates to "self righteous boasting on equality, fairness, the environment, etc".

    Omg. O K. If you say so.

    It's all "Cooks" fault. He's brought this evil upon Apple!

    Funny tho.. maybe your too young to remember but people were jumping out the windows at Foxconn during Steve Jobs era... Was that Cooks fault too? Payback for his "self righteousness"??

  23. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Actually apple can stop it. That's why they do the sustainability reports.

    And most of the world is civilised these days. Congo is very much the exception.
  24. realeric macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2009
    United States
    While American concern labor condition in China or child labor in Africa, Chinese purchased GE appliance, IBM PC, ...
  25. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    China doesn't generally use child labour. Chinese children are in school.

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