Tech giant Apple has recently revealed its growing interest in blockchain technology in a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission
The Conflict Minerals Report focuses primarily on the business’ ongoing commitment to ensure responsible sourcing across its supply chain and “support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories.”
Working alongside a global network of suppliers which work to mitigate risks in three key areas: social, environmental and the human rights of its workers, Apple is committed to delivering high supplier standards in the mining of essential minerals for its flagship technologies, such as cobalt.
According to the recent filing, Apple’s reveals some of its ethical practices, claiming it will not utilise minerals which “directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or benefit armed groups.”
In 2018, the business made the strategic decision to Chair the Board of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), which works with industry leaders to mitigate ongoing risks across the mineral supply chain and manufacturing process. The company has also played a role at the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals. The RMI presently houses more than 300 companies who are committed to transforming present processes.
Additionally, the filing alludes to Apple's ongoing contribution in the development of blockchain guidelines for both the RBA and RMI. The guidelines will work to “promote a common set of principles, attributes, and definitions for the application of blockchain technology to support mineral supply chain due diligence,” according to a recent statement. The technology will further transparency across the supply chain, remove inefficiencies and eliminate human rights fears.
Technology competitors, such as IBM are also exploring the potential of blockchain across its supply chain operations. Its recent partnership with MineHub Technologies, for example will see the development of an innovative blockchain platform, which will work to bolster its mining and supply chain activities and remove ongoing concerns.
Apple’s sourcing of cobalt for its smartphones have previously been called into question. Sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), human rights conditions and transparency remain key issues, leading Apple to eliminate those who do not abide by its responsible sourcing standards, such as five smelters and refiners in the region.