In Apple Inc.’s latest Supplier Responsibility Report, they state that all of the company’s tantalum suppliers are conflict-free, using a third-party verification process.
Apple is also pushing their gold, tin and tungsten suppliers to use conflict-free material, according to this Times article, but those suppliers are harder for the company to muscle because Apple has less financial leverage with them.
Of course, Apple (along with HP, Nokia, Intel and others) has been at the forefront of conflict-free smelter sourcing due to their size and spots in the marketplace; but as we’ve reported over the last couple years, it’s much harder for smaller manufacturers to become compliant with the SEC’s conflict minerals law.
We thought it may behoove our readers to see the list of Apple’s suppliers and smelters – the company “identified that its suppliers use 20 global smelters or refiners whose tantalum has been verified by third-party auditors” as conflict-free, according to the Wall Street Journal – and see if you share any supplier or smelters in common.
If you do use any of these suppliers, and if you also source tantalum, can you be reasonably sure that these suppliers are providing conflict-free material? We encourage manufacturers to perform their own due diligence (we can help with that).
The compliance deadline for the Conflict Minerals Law is only a few months away – be ready!