With the current furor over Apple's labor practices and the human cost of building its products, there's never been a better time for a company to convince potential customers that it cares. That's what Nokia's tried to do today, unveiling a new public policy that seeks to reassure people of its stance on conflict minerals, with many products using metals such as tantalum, gold, tungsten, and tin frequently sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nokia stresses that while it doesn't procure materials directly, it requires its supply chain to be traceable to at least the smelter level, and down to the mine if necessary. It also emphasises its participation in industry-wide initiatives such as the EICC-GeSI Extractives Work Group and the US State Department’s Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. Apple, by the way, has already backed EICC-GeSI rules that came into effect last year to stop sales from mines involved in human rights abuses. Much of this was already outlined on Nokia's website, but it makes sense for the company to get ahead of the issue as best it can — while it notes that no one company can solve the issue, public perception can mean a lot.