February 7, 2014 – February 14, 2014
The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Sanders (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

Apple Releases Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, States Tantalum Smelters Conflict-Free

Apple Inc. released its Supplier Responsibility 2014 Progress Report.  In the report, Apple states, “[i]n January 2014 we confirmed that all active, identified tantalum smelters in our supply chain were verified as conflict-free by third party auditors, and we’re pushing our suppliers of tin, tungsten, and gold just as hard to use verified sources.”

Furthermore, in the report Apple announced that it is “publishing quarterly the names, countries, and CFSP participation status of the smelters and refiners in our supply chain.”

Time Magazine’s Per Liljas in his article titled Apple Employs ‘Name-and-Shame’ Tactics to Weed Out Conflict Minerals, elaborates on the significance of the quarterly smelter list, “[b]y publishing a quarterly list of all of its suppliers’ smelters, Apple is introducing a ‘name-and-shame’ tactic to weed out conflict minerals from its devices and pressure suppliers to comply with ethical sourcing guidelines.”

Ericsson and Flextronics Conflict Minerals Compliance Programs Highlighted

Pamela Gordon of GreenBiz.com recently highlighted both Ericsson’s and Flextronic’s conflict minerals compliance programs as companies who are out in front in their compliance in her latest articled Why Aren’t More Tech Companies Tracking Conflict Minerals?

Both Ericsson and Flextronic support the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI). The CFSI’s approach is to validate smelters as conflict-free. This approach is efficient because smelters typically serve as a “choke point” in a company’s supply chain. Ms. Gordon further explains, “…there are only a couple of hundred smelters through which the four conflict minerals coalesce, from a multitude of mines. And that’s before the minerals are distributed out to myriad supply-chain players via materials, components, manufacturers and distributors.”

Why aren’t more companies taking Ericsson’s and Flextronic’s approach to compliance? Julie Schindall, EICC’s director of communications and stakeholder engagement, hints that people may be unaware of the CFSI.