Apple would have knowingly supplied itself to mines exploiting children.
La Pomme is the subject of a class action bringing together several complainants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was filed in the United States and also concerns Google, Tesla, Dell and Microsoft.
According to the complainants, these big names in the tech world have knowingly contributed to the exploitation of children in cobalt mines. These companies knew – according to the complainants – that the cobalt they bought to make their lithium-ion batteries was extracted by children.
“Young children who mine cobalt are not only forced to work full time in very dangerous jobs, to the detriment of their education and their future, they are regularly mutilated and killed by collapsed tunnels and other dangers known as inherent in the exploitation of cobalt in the DRC, ”reads the complaint.
According to the complainants, the Big Tech are playing on words to be able to continue trading with minors who exploit children. “These workers are officially included in“ artisanal miners ”to cover the fact that they work in large informal circles, among which young children go to areas where cobalt is found and use primitive tools to dig [ …] ”, Indicates the complaint.
The plaintiffs hope to obtain financial compensation for the minors, as well as appropriate medical care financed by these large American companies. They also give themselves the right to add new names to the accused list.
In the case of the Apple, this is not the first time that it has been the subject of criticism regarding its lack of selectivity at the level of its cobalt suppliers, as recalled by our colleagues at Apple Insider.
Amnesty International said it would be particularly difficult to go up the cobalt supply chain to find out where it came from. An opacity that suits Big Tech well.
In fact, Apple defended itself at the time of the critics by responding to the BBC by saying that “child labor is never tolerated in our supply chain and we are proud to have led the industry to introduce new safeguards on this subject. We are currently evaluating dozens of different materials, including cobalt, with the goal of identifying environmental risks and work issues, while keeping an eye out for opportunities for Apple to make concrete, responsible and responsible changes. large scale “.
None of the companies targeted by the class action have yet responded.