Last year, the The Washington Post published an incredible story showing the cruel reality of miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The publication shocks mainly for demonstrating, with relevant information (photos and videos), the precarious and extremely unsafe working conditions of men and women. children everything to get the cobalt, which can be found in the lithium-ion batteries of our smartphones. For that reason, the spotlight went from mine workers to large companies, including the Apple.
When commenting on these facts, Ma had promised that it would require internal audits and risk assessments in supply chains and would also consider cobalt as "a conflict mineral". The company's supply chain social responsibility representative, Paula Pyers, stated that “Apple is committed to working with (the company) Huayou Cobalt to clear the supply chain and address the underlying issues, such as extreme poverty, that result in harsh working conditions and child labor ”.
Time has passed and the company seems to be really delivering on its promise. That's because now the The Washington Post disclosed that Apple temporarily stopped buying cobalt from mines in Congo because the problems of child labor and precarious conditions still continue.
We are working with Huayou on a program to verify individual artisanal mines according to our priests. These mines will re-enter our supply chain as soon as we verify that the appropriate protections are being applied.
About 60% of the world's cobalt is found in the Congo and mining is the main source of income for the thousands of inhabitants of the area, one of the poorest in the world. Despite the initiative to try to "force" suppliers to stop child labor and promote improvements in safety, Apple still said that "it wants to avoid compromising the work of miners by cutting them out of its supply chain".
The situation is delicate, really. I just hope that this will bring improvements and, as they said, it will not end up harming the economy of the place further.
(via Apple World Today)