Video – Progress on Conflict Minerals

Jul 30, 2013

Five years ago, when Motorola Solutions and other tech companies started to work proactively to address the issue of so called “conflict minerals” – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold – some said solutions like this were unrealistic or unlikely to have meaningful impacts.  The argument went something like this—“How can companies reach into their supply chains and have an impact in DRC when they don’t even know which minerals are in their components?”  Five years later, Motorola Solutions’ Corporate VP and Chief Procurement Officer Rich Valin is speaking about the positive impact efforts like Solutions for Hope have produced to encourage peace and development in the DRC.

RESOLVE hosts several other efforts working on this issue, including the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative, and the Conflict Free Smelter Early Adopters Fund. Click here to learn more about RESOLVE’s early supply chain mapping research and resulting report.

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Did you know that RESOLVE can help with…

May 20, 2013

  1. 1. Strategic Assessment and Planning
    If you need a new strategic plan or want to assess opportunities to find new pathways and new partners.

  1. 2. Facilitation and Meeting Training (Including Integrating Technology)
    We’ve all participated in poorly planned and executed meetings that cost both time and money. RESOLVE trains staff (and/or stakeholders) to improve their meeting planning and facilitation skills. We emphasize pre-meeting planning, in-the-room skills, and post meeting follow-through.  We offer basic, advanced, and expert training.

  1. 3. The Use of Science in Decision Making
    Science and technical information is often politicized when there is a dispute or uncertainty at a site or policy level.  RESOLVE has deep experience with processes that use science to build trust and support effective decision making.  We can train your staff or provide direct support to design and/or implement an engagement process that utilizes science.

  1. 4. Leadership Coaching & Change/Transition Management
    Support for new leaders, and during periods of change, is essential to success.

  1. 5. Leading, Supporting (or Fixing) Coalitions
    RESOLVE can manage/facilitate coalitions, provide member training, or help put a coalition back on track.

  1. 6. Negotiation Support and Training
    We can help you plan to win and train you or provide support during negotiations.

  1. 7. Collaborative Technology—The best tools and training to integrate them seamlessly into meetings.
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WEF Responsible Minerals Development Initiative Report

May 2, 2013

The World Economic Forum council on responsible natural resource management has zeroed in on the issue of how to unlock value with regard to mineral development.  For three years, Steve and the rest of the council has focused on a program called the Responsible Minerals Development Initiative (RMDI). The RMDI has new findings to report.  This is timely given the essential role that mining can play in development and the conflicts we are experiencing in many regions including Latin America and Africa. With support from the Boston Consulting Group, the WEF prepared a report (Mineral Value Management—A Multidimensional View of Value Creation from Mining) and tool that underscores the critical role of dialogue and communication to support development.  See the press release and the report for more information.

Here’s Steve’s comment on the RMDI program: “’Financial value is important, but it is not the only measure,’ said Stephen D’Esposito, an advisor on the project and president of RESOLVE, a nonprofit organization that promotes collaborative resolution of public issues. ‘Anything that matters to stakeholders and affects their view of mining—be it a new road development that benefits local businesses or impacts on traditional cultures—needs to be included.’”

In addition to our participation in policy development as part of the World Economic Forum and RMDI, you’ll find RESOLVE in communities grappling with these and similar issues.

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New Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative Announced

May 1, 2013

This press release, an announcement of the new Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), is evidence of the progress that’s been made by electronics companies and other manufacturers and retailers on the issue of supply chain transparency and “conflict free’ sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold from DRC and the surrounding countries. What’s notable is the extent to which tool, strategies and programs have been shared across industry sectors. In the release, you see links to the automotive industry, department and big box stores and others.

NGOs like Enough, PACT, PAC and others have played a key role.

When RESOLVE first began working on this issue over four years ago, ideas, strategies and relationships — particularly those that extend across sectors — were in short supply (see the 2011 Responsible Mineral Development Report).

Today, the CFSI is complemented by a number of linked initiatives to support in-region capacity building (e.g., PPA) and “conflict free” sources (like Solutions for Hope and Conflict Free Tin Initiative).

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Solutions for Hope and Progress on Responsible Sourcing

Apr 17, 2013

As companies prepare for reporting as required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “conflict minerals rule,” many are also working to support responsible sourcing from and development in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa.

Yesterday’s story in the NY Times recognized Solutions for Hope (SfH), one program that makes responsible sourcing possible. It isn’t an NGO but rather an innovative program housed here at RESOLVE as part of our Solutions Network. It’s designed to support sourcing of minerals from conflict-free mines in Democratic Republic of the Congo (and which could be expanded to bordering countries). Leadership and support from Motorola Solutions, AVX, HP, Philips, the Dutch Government, iTSCi and NGOs like Pact and the Enough Project has been essential for SfH and the Conflict Free Tin Initiative, which was modeled on SfH. In just a few short years, we’ve gone from uncertainty as to how to assure supply chains for these minerals to an increasingly transparent supply chain, a public-private alliance to fund and build capacity in countries challenged by conflict minerals, and in-region sourcing pilots so that miners and DRC can be part of the solution. There is still a lot of work to do, but these individual initiatives and especially their efforts to align and scale up are evidence of real and meaningful progress.

- Jen Peyser

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As Food Safety Moves to the National Forefront, RESOLVE Launches Second Phase of Forum

Jan 28, 2013

With the release of proposed rules on January 4, the FDA took a major step toward implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a 2010 law that overhauls how the agency governs food, moving to a more risk-based food safety system. RESOLVE has been very active on this issue. The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation jointly fund our Collaborative Food Safety Forum (CFSF). The progress on FSMA was front page news in both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and featured quotes from Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA and our program officer at Pew, Sandra Eskin.

We convened a series of CFSF discussions to engage key stakeholders in rigorous, collaborative, and creative problem-solving and consensus building dialogue to think through ideas for efficient and effective implementation of the law. Phase II of this work is underway with meetings timed to coincide with the roll out of these rules, providing stakeholders an opportunity for collaborative analyses.

The website for the Collaborative Food Safety Forum provides information on the meetings held during Phase One, and will have information as Phase Two unfolds.

RESOLVE also was involved in the design and facilitation of the Pew funded Produce Safety Project, convened by Georgetown University. This project  included a series of five regional meetings that engaged stakeholders, particularly food growers and producers, in discussions on the current science underpinning considerations for improving food safety, particularly the “4 W’s” – water quality, waste management (including use of compost), wildlife, and worker hygiene.  Input from these sessions provided context for the now released proposed rule for produce safety.

- Abby Dilley

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Strategic Planning With Large Groups Using Poll Everywhere

Jan 3, 2013

Collaborative Technology Program Coordinator Jason Gershowitz writes about RESOLVE’s successes using Poll Everywhere technology to get meaningful input from 400 participants in a strategic planning process. His original blog post can be found here.

Strategic Planning With Large Groups Using Poll Everywhere
The Neighbor Dialogue: Engaging 400 Participants in a Meaningful Way for Strategic Planning

How do nearly 400 participants meaningfully contribute to one strategic plan? Not all participants are decision makers, so how can decision makers effectively leverage the experience and ideas of a large group?

Sure, there are a variety of tools that come to mind: individual interviews, surveys, small group discussions, voting, etc. Participation, however, is most valuable when: 1) participants feel their contributions have been heard; and 2) participant contributions actually inform the decision makers. Many established tools don’t always do this.

As RESOLVE’s Collaborative Technology Program Coordinator, it is my job to identify opportunities to enhance decision-making processes using collaborative technology. We don’t come at situations with a one-tool-fits-all approach, but rather a one-approach-fits-all “tool.” Technology is designed for general interactions, and we specialize in evaluating an interaction to select and tailor a technology and engagement process for a specific outcome.

In a 400-participant town hall-style strategic planning process, we tailored Poll Everywhere (PE) to create a Neighbor Dialogue™ – gathering feedback from the large group, providing a space for discussion, and prioritizing that feedback for decision makers. PE allowed each participant to share their sense of the biggest organizational strengths.

  • Using a pre-designed process and Poll Everywhere’s easy “export to word cloud” feature we shared the feedback with the group visually while we crunched statistics.
  • As our facilitation team explained the word cloud results and participants digested the feedback from their fellow respondents, we prepared the next poll, which included the ten most commonly mentioned strengths from the previous poll. Participants used the second poll to select their top strength from the list.
  • Through this iterative method, we were able to identify the large group’s vision of their organization’s top three strengths and then use this input to drive the facilitated discussion forward.

The meeting was very successful, identifying focus areas for subsequent discussions and generating buy-in from the larger community in the strategic planning process. Poll Everywhere enabled our team to collect feedback from 400 people, funnel feedback into priorities, and gather specific ideas about those priorities, while compressing the process into a two-hour high-energy meeting. These participants moved from “being informed” to “informing the process” – or taking part in meaningful engagement.

To learn more about our Technology Assessment approach, check out our Integrating Collaborative Technology Webinar Training Series.

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Juliana Birkhoff on Using Conflict Resolution to Reduce Mass Shootings

Dec 21, 2012

RESOLVE Vice President of Collaborative Practice, Juliana Birkhoff, contributed an article to reflecting on last Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and how mediators can use conflict resolution skills to help reduce mass shootings in the United States. A copy of her article is available online here.

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Scientific Peer Review

Nov 27, 2012

On November 15th, Steven Courtney, Director of RESOLVE’s Collaborative Science Program, provided a webinar training for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on how to conduct peer review. His presentation, part of the Office of the Science Advisor Webinar Series, explained why open transparent science is in everyone’s best interest. Peer review is an important component of showing the public that the best available science is being used, and that there is a commitment to improved management and communication.

Steven is a recognized expert in managing a peer review process. He has led numerous scientific peer reviews for issues that are contentious and/or have national implications, including peer reviews on the Northern Spotted Owl, the Forest Service Land Planning Rule, and cases involving allegations of breaches in scientific integrity.

The FWS is directed by federal law to use the “best available science” in Endangered Species Act determinations and other regulations, and peer review is a powerful tool to ensure this is the case. In addition, peer review is just good practice. For agencies, good peer review can evaluate competing scientific opinions, support policy development, and strengthen the confidence of decision-makers and the public in a particular decision.

The peer review process and how it is managed is critical to a sound and defensible final product. In his presentation to FWS, Steven lays out guidelines the agency must consider when undertaking a peer review. Most importantly, the peer review must be seen as transparent, unbiased, and fair.

RESOLVE holds one of three nation-wide contracts to provide scientific support services to FWS (and the other Department of Interior agencies), and provides peer review and scientific support on an on-call basis. RESOLVE has a network of more than 1,000 scientists at academic and other institutions, who have committed to providing peer review to support the our mission of collaborative science.

A copy of his presentation is archived here. Steven has also co-written a report for FWS, “Overview of Scientific Peer Review”, which can be downloaded here.

Debbie Lee

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Dispatch from the World Economic Forum Council meeting in Dubai

Nov 13, 2012

Check out this post from the World Economic Forum Council meeting in Dubai. The original post and survey results are available here.

“The notion of responsible extraction (or sourcing) should be embedded in the concept of stability and growth in supply as a response to scarcity”


Can resource scarcity help drive responsible mining?


According to a World Economic Forum survey, resource scarcity ranked 4th in terms of “what to expect” in regards to upcoming trends. But, survey respondents were split on whether the issue deserves more public attention.

Heightened concern over resource scarcity is not a surprise. Even if scarcity is experienced on a short- to medium-term basis, and is therefore only temporary, the experience is real and often felt directly by businesses and consumers. For example, the impact with regard to rare earth minerals has been felt in electronics and other manufacturing. In the US, where the survey showed this as a trending issue, we have seen and felt the impact of a severe drought on corn supply and prices.

Where scarcity is real it can promote alternatives – such as the use of other natural resources – and efficiencies or product substitution. But questions of scarcity are also an opportunity to go directly to the source and better understand and support what it takes to respond to scarcity (real or perceived) and promote responsible, stable sources. I would argue that the notion of responsible extraction (or sourcing) should be embedded in the concept of stability and growth in supply as a response to scarcity.

Green technology, specifically green power, is one example. Consider the issue of the limited supply of some rare earth minerals, many of which are used in electronics and green power technology. Or consider the use of lithium for batteries.

Can environmental and social best practices in mining and sourcing (on the part of buyers and manufacturers) increase confidence in supply? At first glance this may seem counterintuitive. However, there is growing evidence that responsible, ethical supply chain management is partially driven by risk control on the part of manufacturers.

Efforts by Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions, GE and others to address conflict minerals in their supply chain are promoting new, more responsible sources in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And on the issue of rare earth minerals, the strategy of Molycorp is instructive. Molycorp has taken concrete steps at its reopened Mountain Pass mine in the US to differentiate itself on the grounds of environmental management practices.

And what about a new “green deal” that takes a look at the entire supply chain and promotes and rewards responsible development at every step, not just at the product phase? Can we extend the experience from other supply chains into minerals, energy and food? Recalibrating incentives and pricing on this basis might be good for society in a number of ways, including promoting new, responsibly developed supplies.

- Steve D’Esposito

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