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Raw material removal : How dirty the business is with the Smartphones?

Without East African workers would be in Germany's radio silence. In the mines in the Congo, you dig for Gold, cobalt and Coltan. All raw materials used in any

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Raw material removal : How dirty the business is with the Smartphones?

Without East African workers would be in Germany's radio silence. In the mines in the Congo, you dig for Gold, cobalt and Coltan. All raw materials used in any Smartphone. Often the ores and metals are mined under inhumane conditions, complain about charities. Robberies and child labour were both on the agenda. Apple has banned so now five refineries and smelters from its supply chain. The American Tech company has instructed its suppliers to obtain products from these processors. The group announced in its annual commodity report. Whether human rights abuses of the basic goods, Apple. The five producers have denied but independent checks.

With the so-called "Third Party Audits" followed Apple's goal is clear: The Smartphone manufacturer wants to use only conflict-free metals for its devices. This does not mean that the revenue from the East African mining industry will go to armed groups or protection racketeers. Apple takes its smelting plants in the responsibility. Where the source of their raw materials, they are fully documented, and regular checks.

praise and skepticism of Clubs

The Südwind Institute, a non-profit organization for economic justice, holds Apple's decision to consistently. Finally, the company would have to comply with the UN guiding principles on business and human rights. These state that business relationships should be terminated if the Partner measures for better people to refuse the right conditions. "It is doubtful, however, whether the remaining mines actually on the applied control method, the compliance people can be assured of legal Standards," says Eva-Maria Reinwald, technical officer at the Südwind Institute. In addition to the external controls, companies would have to work as Apple itself also with the local civil society or Redress for victims. And if the Smartphone producer does, not clear from the published information.

much of the ore comes from East Africa. Alone the mines in the Congo, an estimated 60 percent of the global Coltan production, their share of the world market for cobalt is 50 percent. The metals put in the Capacitors and batteries of the devices. The resource-rich East of the country, however, is still the scene of armed conflict: The mining will be partially controlled by militias and by children under the worst of conditions made, reports aid agencies such as Amnesty International. More than 40 000 minors to work without protective clothing in the mines, some of them were only seven years old. In addition, the controls are difficult. Estimates by the University of California-Berkeley, according to 90 percent of the Coltan work-miners in small mines and not in the large-scale industrial mining.

paternity test for ore

A German technology that could soon help identify conflict-free Coltan. The Federal Institute for Geosciences and natural resources (BGR) has developed a method for origin determination – a kind of paternity test for the ore. The researchers have provided minerals from selected mines with its own signature. Similar to the fingerprint of the people of Coltan has, depending on the mining area a unique structure. The signatures are transferred to the BGR in a database, it contains 25 000 data sets from 200 different deposits. Thus, the sample could stitch like a match, whether the raw materials originate from mines that are certified by Associations.

"The process is not developed, but at the moment still in use," explains Hans-Eike Gäbler from the BGR. Due to the unstable political situation it is difficult, the procedure under the supervision of the state. The Federal Agency was in talks with companies that could apply the origin test. If it comes to that, but in the end, a question of the market. And the is: Is the customer willing to pay for more transparency and fair working conditions? Gäbler, it is possible: "When we called the company the price for the application of the procedure, you are not certainly fallen from the chair."

Start-ups want to make it better

Undignified working conditions in the Smartphone production, have also launched several Start-ups on the Plan. The family-owned company shift phone from the Hessian village of Falkenberg wants to make it a Priori better. Together with her father, the two brothers, Carsten and Samuel Waldeck build their own Smartphones. Their aim was, first of all, with the finishing to completely control it. The Start-up has built-up an own production in China. Long-term shift phone wants to occur but also as traders and raw materials from certified mines in circulation. At least as much as in the own smartphone it is installed. 30 000 devices sold the family business in the past year. In the current it should be twice as many.

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