Tech giant Apple has mentioned its work in forming the Blockchain Guidelines of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) in a filing with the United States Security Exchange Commission (SEC). The document, entitled “Conflict Minerals Report” was published on Feb. 15.
In general, the document pertains to Apple’s business practices and ethics in sourcing minerals for its various consumer electronic devices. Apple states that it is “committed to going beyond the minimum requirements in order to meet and exceed internationally accepted due diligence standards and protect people in its supply chain…”
Last year, Apple came under scrutiny for its plans to source cobalt — a necessary mineral for smartphones — directly from mines in Congo. While Apple is ranked highly among tech companies in terms of human rights abuses in its supply chains, “the bar is low,” according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Per the recent filing, Apple participates in the development of blockchain guidelines for the RMI, which are designed to determine a set of principles, concepts and terms for the deployment of blockchain in mineral supply chain due diligence. The drafting process for the guidelines was initially launched in March 2018.
In addition, the RMI intends to help businesses understand the nature of blockchain technology, its application in the industry, and its potential impact on supply chain actors and local communities.
Established in 2008, Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Minerals Initiative is a multi-industry initiative that comprises over 360 companies including Apple, computer hardware manufacturer Acer and American electronics store Best Buy. Members purportedly contribute to the development and improvement of due diligence mechanisms and resources in mineral supply chains.
Companies and public entities around the world have been exploring the use of blockchain technology in their supply chains. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration of the Chinese Chongqing Yuzhong District announced plans to deploy blockchain for strengthening the supervision of food and drug quality assurance.
Last month, IBM partnered with MineHub Technologies to develop blockchain solution to improve supply chain management in the mining and metals industry. The solution targets the inefficiencies of the global market, including excessive paperwork, manual data processing and lack of transparency between supply chain parties.