At the end of March, Apple released its third Conflict Minerals Report. Often these reports get praised when companies describe themselves as having achieved a “conflict free” status. Apple’s report, however, chooses not to use this description, and we think that’s a good thing. This term ... can be misleading. The reality is that supply chains, particularly in conflict-affected and fragile states, are fluid and ever-changing. This means that even the most well-managed supply chains are not immune to the possibility of contributing to human rights abuses or corruption. It’s for this very reason that we don’t believe that supply chains or the final products should be definitively described as “conflict free” ... The most important [thing] isn’t a passive “conflict free” label; it is the evidence that companies are actively, continually checking their supply chains to look for red flags and risks, and when necessary, taking the appropriate steps to address these problems.
- Global Witness blog, "Why it's a good thing that Apple isn't declaring its products conflict free"