TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Environmental NGO Friends of the Earth (FoE) is pressing tech giant Apple to come clean about its supply chain, which the group believes sources tin from the dangerous and destructive Bangka Island mines.
The effort follows mobile phone maker Samsung’s admission that some of its products contain tin from Bangka, the result of intense pressure from FoE and nearly 16,000 concerned consumers who had contacted the South Korean company.
Now FoE has refocused its Make it Better campaign against Samsung’s fiercest rival. The group has been pushing both companies to declare whether the tin in its phones comes from the controversial Indonesian island.
“Apple has refused to answer its own customers’ questions about Bangka – even though Apple almost certainly uses the island’s tin,” FoE wrote on its website.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported in Aug. 2012 that two main suppliers to Foxconn Technology, Apple’s biggest manufacturer, buy 100 percent of their tin from Indonesia. The mines of Bangka and its sister island, Belitung, produce almost all of the metal in the country. Bangka is the source of nearly a third of the world’s tin.
The Guardian reported in Nov. 2012 that tin mining in Bangka was wrecking the environment and claiming dozens of lives each year.
FoE is also calling for Samsung and Apple to support the “non-financial reporting” system, proposed by the European Commission on April 16. The new rules would enhance transparency by requiring large companies to report on a range of environmental and social factors.
As of May 3, more than 20,000 people had “taken action” against Samsung and Apple by emailing them via FoE’s website.
Samsung and Apple are the world’s biggest information-technology companies.