Apple has been attacked for not admitting to using tin from Bangka Island in Indonesia, which is said to have caused damage to tropical forests, killed coral and disrupted local communities.
Green campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) said the company had ignored some 24,000 emails from its members over whether it knew its products are made using tin from the island.
However, when contacted by V3, Apple pointed to a section on its website where it lists its involvement in a cross-industry group with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), which is looking at the issues on Bangka island.
It does not, though, specifically admit to using tin from the island in its supply chain, which a spokeswoman from FoE said was its biggest gripe with the firm, especially given the number of emails sent by its members asking the question.
"Apple, has refused to answer its own customers' questions about Bangka – even though Apple almost certainly uses the island's tin," reads a page on the Friends of the Earth website.
By contrast, BlackBerry, Sony, LG, Nokia and Motorola all said they did use materials from the island, and would be reassessing their supply chains as a result of the campaign.
These acknowledgments were welcomed by FoE director of policy and campaigns, Craig Bennett, who said they should shame Apple into coming forward and making similar admissions.
“It’s great that most of the mobile industry is now being upfront with customers about the socially and environmentally damaging tin in their phones – and committing to tackle the problems together,” he said.
“Apple’s cowardly public refusal to give a straight answer to concerned customers is totally at odds with its competitors and contradicts its own CEO’s commitment to be more transparent about Apple supply chains."
The announcements come after Samsung vowed to improve its manufacturing processes after it admitted to using tin from the island in April.
FoE carried out the work as part of its Make It Better campaign. This should not to be confused with V3’s own, separate, Make IT Better campaign.
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