Apple said it remains "deeply committed" to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers and "works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced."
Apple commits to use minerals in its products that do not directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or benefit armed groups.
As of December 31, 2018—for the fourth straight year—100 percent of identified smelters and refiners in Apple's supply chain for all applicable products manufactured during calendar year 2018 participated in an independent third-party conflict minerals audit ("Third Party Audit") program for columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite, or their derivatives, which presently are limited to tantalum, tin, and tungsten (collectively, "3TG").
In 2018, Apple 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 did not otherwise meet Apple's requirements on the responsible sourcing of minerals. 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 that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups.
In 2017, The Enough Project said Apple was the "clear leader" among companies around the world at developing efforts to source conflict-free minerals from suppliers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.