In a filing with the US Security Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple has mentioned its work in formulating the Responsible Minerals Initiative’s (RMI) blockchain guidelines. The “Conflict Minerals Report” was published on 15th February 2019.
In summary, the document explains various business practices and ethics employed by Apple in sourcing minerals for its consumer electronic devices. The document maintained that Apple is committed to protecting people in its supply chain. Moreover, in order to exceed internationally accepted standards, the company is willing to go beyond minimum requirements.
During 2018, Apple came under severe criticism for alleged violations of human rights in its supply chain. Amnesty International noted in a report that “the bar is low” when it comes to human rights in Apple. Reportedly, Apple revealed its plan for obtaining cobalt (an essential mineral for smartphones) directly from Congolese mines, which raised the concern regarding potential human rights abuse.
Responsible Business Alliance’s RMI was established (2008) in order to contribute to the improvement and development of diligent mechanisms and resources in the mineral supply chain. Currently, it comprises of 360 companies including Apple, Acer and Best Buy. Now, these companies are looking to integrate blockchain technology in order to make sure that human rights are not violated during the process of mineral sourcing.
Initially launched in March 2018, the aim of RMI’s blockchain guidelines is to come up with a well-defined set of rules, terms and concepts for the integration of blockchain in the mineral supply chain. According to this recent filing, Apple is a participant in the said drafting process.
Moreover, the aim of RMI is to promote a sense of understanding among businesses regarding blockchain technology, its potential impact on supply chain and industrial applications.