Apple has begun publicising which of its suppliers may be sourcing minerals from conflict zones.
Conflict minerals, as they are known, are mined in areas of fighting or human rights abuses, such as the
The first published list detailed 104 suppliers that were unverified for compliance with ethical guidelines.
Electronics firms are being pressured by human rights groups to use their influence to force suppliers to change.
Most electronic devices contain either gold, tantalum, tin or tungsten. The gathering of these raw materials is often controlled by violent militias who may profit greatly from the activity.
"The ethical sourcing of minerals is an important part of our mission to ensure safe and fair working conditions," Apple said in its latest Supplier Responsibility Report, published annually.
The first published list showed that 59 smelters were compliant with its guidelines.
A further 23 have agreed to be audited by the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP), meaning their status should soon be known.
But the document stated that the status of 104 smelters was unknown, highlighting the scale of the challenge.
Bandi Mbubi is a director of Congo Calling, a
He told the
"What we want is the whole industry to start transforming the way they do their business," he said.
"The way Apple has gone, even though it is not 100%, is something that is quite encouraging."
In an interview with the Financial Times, Apple's senior vice-president of operations
"Quite honestly, if we did that, we could wave our conflict-free flag but it would do nothing to affect the workers on the ground," he told the newspaper.
"And so what we are focused on is getting a critical mass of suppliers verified such that we can truly influence the demand situation and change things."
The declaration came as a response to a law passed in 2010 that gave companies a
Mr Mbubi said he hoped the moves from Apple and
"I think the competition has now started. I think very soon
"The competition is good for places like the Congo."
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