Not sure where your suppliers get their supplies? You're not alone, but it could be a big issue soon: Amnesty International and African Resources Watch (also known as Afrewatch) put out an 88-page report detailing how cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is mined in awful conditions by children as young as seven, for as much as 12 hours a day.
The DRC produces about half the world's cobalt, which is favored for lithium batteries powering the world's modern devices. The report highlighted Apple Inc., Dell, HP Inc. (formerly Hewlett-Packard Company), Huawei, Lenovo (Motorola), LG, Microsoft
Corporation, Samsung, Sony and Vodafone as companies all using one of the suppliers, Congo Dongfang Mining International, that allegedly is not monitoring how its materials are sourced and is regularly sourcing at least some materials gathered by child laborers in unsafe conditions.
Many of the companies named denied using material that was sourced in dangerous conditions or from children, but were not able to point to alternatives supply chains for their cobalt.
Materials and supply chain sourcing have become a larger issue for technology companies over the past years, with increased pressure for supply chain transparency on the biggest technology companies that are, in steps, offering just that.