A number of metals, including rare earth metals, necessary for the production of electronic devices such as computers, laptops, and cell phones have entered the supply chain from the troubled region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to government sources, to fund violence in the region they mined and sold these metals. Lawmakers are working toward requiring U.S. manufacturers to prove that the metals in their supply chains are free from these so-called conflict minerals.
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Apple Inc. has taken a proactive approach to the situation, verifying just last month that no conflict minerals are involved in their supply chain or manufacturing processes. Much of the metal used in Apple’s manufacturing comes from Asia. The company has taken proactive steps in other areas as well, according to Greenpeace, such as limiting the number of hours their suppliers require their employees to work. They are also educating these workers on job skills and their own rights.
However, conflict minerals are not just a concern for U.S. lawmakers. Officials in the European Union are also planning steps to take metals mined in the Congo off the market and assure that their money does not end up in the hands of those purveying violence in the area.
Apple assured their supply chain was clear by conducting a thorough supply chain map, which industry experts recommend for all supply chain managers. The tech company Intel has also taken proactive steps to clear their supply chains of Congo metals.
There have also been concerns within the supply chain and among government officials about the unfair working conditions of Congo workers. Avoiding the purchase of these conflict metals seems to be the only way to combat the issues there. This issue will only be solved as the demand for these conflict minerals lessens. [/show_to]