Today, Newsweek magazine published an article calling out Apple, the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) and iTSCi.
Fundamentally – although in a sensationalistic slant – the article points out potential gaps and concerns about the mechanisms, processes and supporting data relied upon by the conflict minerals audit programs. It also illustrates the point Michael Littenberg makes: “Big consumer brands are the low-hanging fruit for nonprofits and investor advocates, and they’re increasingly focused on this issue.” And should mass media outlets like Newsweek continue to cover the topic, that will only increase the momentum.
To an extent, we feel our quote is somewhat out of context in that there do appear to be pockets of success relative to maintaining adequate documentation by some upstream supply chain actors. At the same time, we have long advocated strengthening audits along the conflict minerals supply chain, going back to our comments at the 2011 SEC Conflict Minerals Roundtable.
The article also contains factual errors such as the SEC disclosure “requires U.S. publicly traded companies to audit their supply chains…” and that the compliance process is limited to the Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry (RCOI).