Last year Friends of the Earth (FOE) carried out a six-month investigation which found that the mining of tin used in popular brands of smartphones was destroying tropical forests, killing coral and damaging community life on the island of Bangka in Indonesia.

Samsung has now committed to taking urgent action to tackle the problem across its supply chain and it has written to customers explaining how it has traced its supply chain back to the mines.

It says it now aims to work together with suppliers, industry bodies and governments to find solutions to improve the situation on the island.

FOE welcomed the move but warned it will be maintaining pressure on Samsung to ensure action is taken.

FOE director of policy and campaigns Craig Bennett said: “It’s great Samsung has taken an industry lead by tracking its supply chains all the way to Indonesia’s tin mines and committing to taking responsibility for helping tackle the devastating impact that mining tin for electronics has on people and the environment.

“Millions of us love our smartphones and couldn’t do without them – we want to be able to love the way they’re made too.”

FOE has also called on Samsung to back new laws in Europe requiring all companies to reveal the full human and environmental impacts of their operations.

In a statement Samsung said: “Friends of the Earth has asked for our help in better understanding tin sourcing in Indonesia so we are working with key electronic industry parties to better understand the issue.

“We are committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility, and we continue to evaluate our sourcing policies to ensure they comply with global standards associated with our industry.”

Conor McGlone

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