Apple, Google and other phone companies ranked for connections to wars and human rights abuses – by Andrew Griffin (The Independent – November 19, 2017)

Many of the materials needed to make new electronics has unknown connections to the rest of the world

The phones in your pocket and the laptops on your desk might include materials linked to a range of horrific abuses, according to two major new reports.

Materials like gold and cobalt power the batteries and other components required to keep the world running. But they might also be endangering the world, by funding groups that undermine safety and protections in companies like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The two reports show that products from a range of companies are made with materials that could be directly funding conflict in some of the most vulnerable places in the world.

Many of the world’s biggest technology and jewellery companies have been repeatedly criticised for buying the precious metals, like gold, needed to make their products from supply chains where the money funds continuing wars and human rights abuses.

The two reports – from the Enough Project and Amnesty – praise the work done by some companies and note that progress is happening, focusing particularly on Apple and Google’s work to try and keep its supply chain free from conflict minerals and connections to human rights abuses. The Enough Project called Apple the “clear leader” and said that it had “committed substantial resources to developing processes for sourcing minerals from mines that benefit Congolese communities”.

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