After Friends of the Earth, the international lobby group, organized a campaign to look into mobile manufacturing many of the top mobile producers in the world have admitted that they use tin from sources that are considered to be damaging to the environment. Blackberry, Sony, Nokia, Motorola, and LG all released statements that admitted to different degrees of choosing to use tin that was sourced from Bangka, an island in Indonesia. The mining operations on this island are ruining drinking water, destroying farmland, destroying coral reefs and causing widespread deforestation.
Indonesia is one of the largest suppliers of tin in the world and the island of Bangka is responsible for 90% of what is output by the nation. Outside of the environmental damages that the tin mining is causing on the island, human costs are also high as police report that at least one miner died every week in 2011 from work accidents and pit collapses.
Tin is one of the critical components of electronic devices and given the fact that now there are more mobile phones in the world then there are people the problem of finding tin in an environmentally responsible manner is now being brought in to the spotlight.
Nokia admitted that they choose to use tin from Indonesia in their supply chain and due to this fact are not able to say definitively if some of the tin may come from Bangka. Motorola also stated that it is possible that some of their phones use the Bangka tin but added that they work with NGOs and local groups with the hope that eventually all mining that is done on the island of Bangka will be responsible and environmentally friendly.
Apple is the only company that has not commented publicly on whether or not they use tin from the island.