Apple says they’re making progress eliminating conflict minerals

“In an annual report on labor and environmental practices in its supply chain, Apple said it is making progress eliminating so-called conflict minerals,” Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Apple said it had identified 225 smelters in its supply chain that handle gold, tantalum, tin or tungsten. Sales of those four minerals have been used to fund armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo; in Asia, they are sometimes extracted by children or rogue miners in dangerous conditions,” Wakabayashi reports. “Apple said 135 of those smelters were audited last year to verify that they do not use materials that fund armed groups; that’s more than double the 57 smelters audited in 2013. The company said 64 other smelters in its supply chain have agreed to participate or are currently participating in an audit, while 26 new smelters have not agreed to participate yet.”

“Apple first identified 186 smelters used by its suppliers in 2013. By publicly identifying its smelters and requiring that the smelters agree to be audited by the end of 2014, Apple said it was hoping to use only conflict-free minerals,” Wakabayashi reports. “Apple said all but four agreed to be audited. The company said it notified the four who refused to be audited that they would be eliminated from its supply chain.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Where Apple gets the tantalum for your iPhone – February 5, 2015
Greenpeace praises Apple for reducing use of conflict minerals – February 13, 2014
Apple confirms suppliers use conflict-free minerals – February 13, 2014


  1. When is Apple going to address the eWaste from all the sealed up boxes incapable of being upgraded that Jony Ive is so enamored of?

    Most of the old computers and phones end up in burning piles of waste in Africa and India sorted through by children and adults with no protective gear. The burning of the waste makes it easier to get at the most valuable stuff, but releases topic materials into the air, the ground and ultimately the water. It also exposes those working the piles to carcinogenic materials each and every working day.

    Apple has worked to reduce the use of toxics in components and as detailed here conflict minerals. For this Apple should be commended. However, they need to make sure the supply chain does not buy recycled materials from the burning toxic piles of the third world and should design it’s products to be more upgradeable to last longer and be more easily recycled.

        1. Really! My iMac is early 2009 model. Still going strong, still able to run latest OS as well. Not sure about this planned obsolescence you speak of. Apple cannot be held accountable for customers deciding they need latest and greatest. Customer driven obsolescence is about business and how the manufacturer deals with the old equipment is the key.

        2. Ditto macaholic. My machine is a Mid-2009 13″MBP. It’s built like a tank, strong, reliable and no defects. I will say this was a high point for MBP design. I have a 1TB drive and 8GB of RAM, both self-installed.

          But DavGreg, you need to make up your mind what your issues are. I responded to your post regarding recycling. Apple facilitates responsible disposal of no longer useful computing devices. Now you want to bitch about product improvements over time. Seems like a red herring to me. Don’t buy new ones if you don’t want them. Chances are, if your current machine is Apple, its still working pretty well.

          Comparing Apple to GM is blatant BS. GM has been forced to keep up by Toyota, Honda and now Tesla. Apple is leading their charge and showing the way.

    1. Because you still own your high upgradable cell phone from 1997 or the one from 1999 or the one from…

      My experience in owning multiple Macs, iPhones and other such gear from apple along with numerous upgradable items from other companies, is that Apple items have always served me well far longer than the “upgradable” ones.

      1. Nice strawman argument. Assert something that he never said (electronics last forever) and knock it down.

        The sad reality is that Apple does indeed employ practices which put its products in the landfill much sooner that necessary. They include: non-replaceable batteries, unserviceable motherboards, un-upgradable memory, no service support for models over three years old, dropped software support for models that simply aren’t very old.

        These “recycling” programs are generally euphemisms for “we make it disappear.” The so-called recyclable glass is virtually worthless. The aluminum is recyclable but its value is trivial next to the rest of the components which are not recycled.

        Apple profits from these short product cycles and Tim Cook knows it. That is why he goes to extreme efforts to look green. It’s all a facade over the true ugliness of the electronics industry.

        I’m not singling out Apple and I’m not saying that the electronics industry should go away. I’m just asking for a little truth in advertising and some simple steps that will truly help our environment and conserve.

      2. My current Phone is an iPhone 6. Current Desktops include a Mac Pro (Quad Core Tower) and a Mac mini Server (Mid 2010) upgraded with OWC SSDs. Both are hooked to Apple LED Cinema Displays (24″).

        The replacement devices offered by Apple for both are less well suited to end user expansion, upgrade or repair.

    2. Oh, PLEASE!! Your “upgradeable” PC’s don’t last as long as any Apple product. People I know who are determined to use PC’s come Hell (a common occurrence) or high water end up throwing them out after a few years because they’re so dam infested and slow. They tell me PC’s are so CHEAP it’s easier to just toss the infested shit one out (most recycle) and buy a new one. People I do tech support for with Macs hold onto them for many, many, years. Because the Macs still work and they aren’t slow, and they aren’t infested, or compromised with spyware. I have people STILL using 10 year old Macs! My own home laptop is a 2006 and I use it every day. I’ve given away 6 and 8 year old iMacs and the people are still using them. I’m about to repurpose 3 work 2009 MacBook Pros and give them to friends to use. In my previous job we would buy 8 high end Macs for people who really needed the power. Every 3 years we’d buy new ones, also loaded. The original 8 would be handed down to the next level users and in 3 more years those same 8 Macs would be handed down to the lighter users, and after THOSE 3 years we’d hold an in office raffle and people could put their names in to have a chance to take one of the 8 HOME and use them or give them to relatives. How many can say that about a stinking PC?? You are ignorant of what really goes on, and what has true value and longevity.

      1. I’ve never had a PC that died and could not be fixed. I’ve had multiple Macs that couldn’t. One of them was an iMac. On an iMac, it’s a total loss — monitor and all — a complete waste.

      2. The 10 year old mac can be easily opened and upgraded. the current stiff for the most part cannot.

        Recently went to an Apple Certified center to see if a Power Supply could be repaired to avoid dropping $400 for a new one. They said the contract they have with Apple prevents them from repairing components- they can only swap out componentized stuff.

        The latest Macs for the most part have soldered in CPUs, are fixed at the factory for RAM, have crappy integrated Intel Graphics (Vampire Video) and are glued shut or use some very unfriendly fasteners for anyone wanting to repair or upgrade the device.

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