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Apple's Interest In Blockchain For Mining Standards

February 19, 2019


Apple recently submitted a document to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission detailing their work to uphold and exceed the humanitarian standards involved in producing their electronic products. The document includes explanations of their practices,  organizational involvement to continue improving their model as well as a list of all their raw materials sources. The document “Conflict Minerals Report,” includes information regarding blockchain technology, the groups’ involved with research with Apple and some of the benefits that the technology can offer to sourcing raw materials internationally.


Apple is deeply committed to upholding human rights across its global network of suppliers that support the manufacturing of its mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and related accessories. Apple works to safeguard the well-being of people involved in its supply chain and to protect the places where materials are sourced. Through its strict supplier standards, Apple commits to use minerals in its products that do not directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or benefit armed groups. (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/320193/000119312519041571/d694085dex101.htm)


Apple and Blockchain Tech


Previously, the only significant interest that Apple had shown in cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology was through a patent filing that involved two of the fundamental elements of the technology. In December of 2017, Apple proposed program to certify timestamps through a process of aspects of blockchain technology and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).


However, this new report cites their participation in groups that are looking to improve the supply chain management systems involved in producing their products. The company engaged a diverse set of civil society, industry, and government experts, as well as partnered with the Enough Project. Their goal as an international human rights organization is to convene a series of expert group meetings to discuss opportunities to work collectively on innovative approaches to responsibly sourcing minerals in the supply chain.


RMI and Blockchain Tech


Supply chain management firms are becoming more aware of the benefits blockchain technology has for the establish processes. Startups are bringing the basic structure of the technology to the supply chains of all types of products. But6 in this case, the transfer of Apple’s raw materials can have serious implications on human rights.


In 2018 Apple joined a group of companies looking to develop industry-wide standards, including the Responsible Artisanal Gold Solutions Forum’s Artisanal Gold Due Diligence Toolkit; the Code of Risk-mitigation for ASM (artisanal and small-scale mining) engaging in Formal Trade (CRAFT Code), as well as the Blockchain Guidelines of the Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Minerals Initiative (“RMI”).

The RMI Blockchain Guidelines seek to reduce the fragmentation of blockchain projects by recommending a set of fundamental attributes for projects to include at each stage of mineral supply chains. The Guidelines are inspired by the success of the RMI’s Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) and its underlying data exchange standard. They are agnostic to the type of operations for mineral production, trade and processing as well as the mineral or metal itself. - RMI



By: BGN Editorial Staff

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