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Apple reports 100% of refiners of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold for its products now independently audited on ties to conflict

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6 April 2016

What Did Apple Really Say in its CMR [conflict minerals report]? Maybe Not What You Think

Author: Elm Sustainability Partners

Similar to last year, Apple Computers filed its SEC conflict minerals disclosure early... This year’s report from the computer giant contained more detail than it has in past years, most likely a reflection that much of their efforts through the years are bearing fruit.

We took a detailed look at the report, carefully considering and evaluating the language in an attempt to divine subtle insights that may exist. A number of topics caught our attention.

[also refers to Kaloti (Al Kaloti Jewelers Factory)]

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31 March 2016

Apple Steps Up on Conflict Minerals

Author: Enough Project, Center for American Progress (USA)

Tech giant’s firm but fair measures with suppliers and investigations in eastern Congo are key steps in the right direction to fight the deadly trade. Enough Project highlights where Apple could take next steps... 

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Apple's new supplier report is a model for how companies should be addressing conflict minerals. Apple's tough love with its suppliers is critical to solving the problem of deadly conflict minerals -- it offered assistance to suppliers but then took the difficult step of cutting out those who were unwilling to undergo an audit. Firm but fair follow-through by tech and other companies with their suppliers is a key step that's needed to cut off global markets for conflict minerals.”

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “We appreciate Apple's commitment to issuing an honest and thoughtful reflection on the progress it has made as a company and that conflict-free initiatives have made to date overall.  We agree strongly with Apple's assessment that it will "take the contributions of many different stakeholders to effect lasting change in the minerals sector of the Region" and encourage others to work with Apple and other leaders to do just that.”

Apple’s detailed report highlighted that 100% of the smelters in the company’s supply chain were participating in third-party independent audits on conflict minerals issues. That is an industry first...

Apple offered more detail in its Conflict Minerals Report...than the vast majority of [other companies]... Intel, Signet Jewelers, and Ford have also provided transparent, detailed reports... The openness of this reporting and due diligence...are welcome and should be emulated by other companies... Going forward, Apple should also set up direct sourcing initiatives in Congo to purchase conflict-free gold and other minerals, and support livelihood projects for artisanal mining communities.

Link to Apple’s report: http://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/progress-report

Link to Apple’s SEC filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/320193/000119312516523320/d168894dex101.htm

[also refers to Kaloti (Al Kaloti Jewelers Factory)]

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30 March 2016

Apple Says Supply Chain Now 100% Audited for Conflict Minerals

Author: Emily Chasan, Bloomberg (USA)

Apple Inc. has reached what it’s calling a milestone in supply-chain transparency, saying it’s now auditing 100 percent of its suppliers for the use of conflict minerals linked to violent militia groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo... [While] it isn’t yet declaring its products totally conflict-free, the company said all of its 242 smelters and refiners of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are now subject to third-party audits...

“We could have very easily chosen a path of re-routing our supply and declared ourselves conflict-free long ago, but that would have done nothing to help the people on the ground,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said. “We chose to engage with as many smelters as possible..." 

To reach a fully audited supply chain, Apple spent five years “cajoling, persuading, and even embarrassing suppliers by publishing their names,” Williams said... Though all of its smelters and refiners are now audited, Apple says it stopped short of declaring itself conflict-free because it wants to focus on improving issue resolution and responses to incident reports...

[also refers to steps taken by Intel, Kemet]

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