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Apple's Latest Conflict Minerals Report Details their ongoing work and Removal of five Non-Compliant Smelters and Refiners

1 X COVER  SEC Form SD conflict Materials  Apple filing feb 2019


In Apple’s latest Conflict Minerals Report filed with SEC, it states that they directed its suppliers to remove from its supply chain five smelters and refiners not willing to participate in, or complete, a Third Party Audit or that didn't otherwise meet Apple's requirements on the responsible sourcing of minerals.


Further, Apple notes that that of the 253 smelters and refiners of 3TG determined to be in Apple's supply chain as of December 31, 2018, Apple found no reasonable basis for concluding that any such smelter or refiner sourced 3TG tha directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups.


Apple notes that they're committed to going beyond the minimum requirements in order to meet and exceed internationally accepted due diligence standards and protect people in its supply chain, with the ultimate goal of improving conditions on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries.


Further into the SEC filing Apple states: "Apple believes Third Party Audits remain the foundation of robust due diligence systems. In particular, Apple believes that Third Party Audits play a significant role in providing assurances that smelters and refiners have appropriate due diligence systems in place and help ensure that operations and sourcing practices do not support conflict in the DRC and adjoining countries. To date, through advocacy and influence, Apple has driven a steady increase in smelters and refiners participating in Third Party Audits. In 2015, Apple reached its goal of a 100 percent rate of participation in Third Party Audit programs by identified smelters and refiners in its supply chain, and Apple continued to achieve a 100 percent rate of participation in 2016, 2017, and 2018.


2 X Apple sec filing graphic Feb 15  2019


Going Beyond: Considering Impact


In another segment of their SEC filing Apple notes that "as part of its human rights due diligence and commitment to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain, Apple expanded its efforts to integrate human rights impact measurements into its responsible sourcing program in 2018. Third Party Audits are not currently designed to capture or assess to what extent conditions for people living in the affected countries are improving. Apple believes that measuring human rights impacts is a critical part of its due diligence process and that stakeholders should work together to further measure the impact of 3TG due diligence systems.


In 2018, Apple continued funding the International Peace Information Service ("IPIS"), an independent research institute, to measure the impact of due diligence programs on mining communities.


IPIS worked together with Ulula LLC, a software and analytics company, to collect data through field visits and a mobile-based survey campaign from two sets of respondents: people living in and around mine sites with due diligence programs and people living in and around mines sites without due diligence programs.


The study found that there were lower levels of armed actor interference and a higher presence of government-sponsored mining services at mine sites with due diligence programs. Respondents living around mine sites with due diligence programs reported witnessing mine accidents and instances of corruption less often than their counterparts at mine sites without due diligence programs. However, respondents at mine sites with due diligence programs also reported a decrease in wages in the past year, and a sentiment that it was difficult to support themselves and their families on current income levels.


Apple also provided funding to two additional partners to initiate work to evaluate human rights impacts of minerals certification and traceability programs on communities living on or around mine sites—faculty in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles are conducting statistical analyses of relevant in-region datasets; and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is collecting data on economic outcomes, as well as on gender and human rights issues, through quantitative and qualitative research in the DRC.


In 2018, Apple also funded an international expert and an organization specializing in land rights to conduct initial research for a Human Rights Impact Assessment (“HRIA”) of the impact of a potential traceability project on a local community in the DRC. Results from the HRIA research informed Apple’s decision-making with respect to the location of the potential project.


Apple believes that more data is needed to track progress on human rights improvements on the ground and that all stakeholders—government, NGOs, industry, and local communities—should work together to measure impact and improve the situation on the ground.


You could read more of Apple's SEC FORM SD Specialized Disclosure Report filing here.


In 2017 "The Enough Project" listed Apple as the number one tech company that is developing efforts to support human rights activities by ensuring that they use conflict minerals in their products.


2 Apple #1 fighting conflict minerals 2017



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