According to the Conflict Minerals Report that was published yesterday, February 15th, Apple is working on forming blockchain guidelines as part of its Responsible Minerals Initiative which was filed to the United States Security Exchange Commission. In the document, Apple wrote about its ethics and business practices in sourcing minerals that are used in the production of its electronic devices. The tech giant announced that it was committed to meeting the globally recognized standards. Part of the document stated:
“We are dedicated to going beyond the requirements in our mission to exceed globally acceptable due diligence standards so as to protect people in our supply chain.”
According to the filing, Apple is one of the participants who is helping to develop blockchain guidelines for the Responsible Minerals Initiative. These guidelines are a compilation of a set of principles, terms, and concepts channeled towards the deployment of blockchain technology in the mineral supply chain. The goal is to ensure that all companies involved do due diligence to protect the end users. In March 2018, the drafting process for the guidelines started.
The Responsible Minerals Initiative also intends to educate businesses about blockchain technology as it relates to the supply chain industry, and local communities. It examines the potential of this emerging tech.
Apple Comes Under Scrutiny
In 2018, the tech giant, Apple, came under scrutiny because of its plans to source cobalt in ways that were considered inhumane. Cobalt is a mineral that is used for the creation of smartphones and it is gotten from Congo. Amnesty International, at the time, said that the human rights bar in the supply chain sector is low. So, even if Apple is highly ranked as one of the tech companies that pay attention to human right abuses in the supply chain, this doesn’t mean it is free of blame.
The Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Minerals Initiative was established in the year 2008. It is made to of 360 companies including Apple, the electronics giant, Acer, the computer manufacturer, and Best Buy, the American electronics store. These companies and all the other companies in the alliance work on the improvement and development of due diligence mechanisms in the mineral sourcing supply chain.
Blockchain Technology In The Supply Chain
Having a standard for due diligence in the supply chain industry has become more important in recent time. Many public and private entities are already implementing blockchain technology in supply chains on a global scale. In January, IBM entered into a partnership with MineHub Technologies. The goal of the partnership is to create a blockchain platform that will be used to improve the management of supply chains in the metals and mining industry. The platform will eliminate the inefficiencies of the global minerals supply chain. It will also reduce the need for manual data processing and excessive paperwork. It will increase the transparency between all the parties involved in the supply chain process.
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In February, the Food and Drug Administration in Chongqing Yuzhong, a Chinese district, announced that it was making plans to deploy a blockchain that would strengthen the supervision of drugs and food in the supply chain to ensure quality.
Do you think blockchain technology can boost transparency in the supply chain for major companies around the world? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Max writes about blockchain projects and regulation with a special focus on United States and China. He joined Smarterum after years of writing for various media outlets.