Apple’s Big Supply Chain Transparency Milestone

Apr 1, 2016

A Bloomberg Technology article explores Apple’s announcement on Wednesday that all 242 of its suppliers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold are now subject to third-party audits to determine any links to armed groups in the DRC. While many companies have sought to avoid any materials from DRC and the surrounding countries, Apple has worked with its suppliers (in some cases, “cajoling, persuading, and even embarrasing [them] by publishing their names”) to support conflict-free producers in the region. “We could have very easily chosen a path of re-routing our supply and declared ourselves conflict-free long ago, but that would have done nothing to help the people on the ground,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said. “We chose to engage with as many smelters as possible because the only way to have an impact here is to reach critical mass.”

The Enough Project also applauded this achievement. “Apple’s new supplier report is a model for how companies should be addressing conflict minerals,” said Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy. “Apple’s tough love with its suppliers is critical to solving the problem of deadly conflict minerals — it offered assistance to suppliers but then took the difficult step of cutting out those who were unwilling to undergo an audit. Firm but fair follow-through by tech and other companies with their suppliers is a key step that’s needed to cut off global markets for conflict minerals.”

Apple and the Enough Projects are both members of the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a coalition of 51 member organizations from industry, civil society, and government, for which RESOLVE serves as Secretariat. The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains align due diligence programs and practice, encourage responsible sourcing from the region, promote transparency, and bolster in-region civil society and government capacity.

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Strategic Partner Mike Loch #1 | PPA Members among Top Conflict Minerals Influence Leaders

Mar 24, 2016

Congratulations to RESOLVE Strategic Partner Mike Loch, who was recognized as the #1 Conflict Minerals Influence Leader in 2016. Mike’s longstanding leadership includes highlights such as serving as the co-chair of the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative for over 7 years; leading the development and launch of the first Solutions for Hope pilots, and helping to establish and serving on the Governance Committee of the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), for whom RESOLVE serves as Secretariat.

Along with Mike, current and former PPA members comprised 20% of the list, including Carrie George (Apple), Kelly Katynski (Ford Motor Company), Sophia Pickles (Global Witness), and Sasha Lezhnev (Enough Project) – all Governance Committee members; and Gary Niekerk and Bryan Fiereck (Intel), Yves Bawa (Pact), Leah Butler (EICC), Kay Nimmo (ITRI), Benedict Cohen (Boeing), John Plyler (Blackberry), Tim Mohin (AMD), Jay Celorie (Hewlett-Packard), Anita Gobor (Microsoft), Patricia Jurewicz (Responsible Sourcing Network), Joanne Lebert (Partnership Africa Canada), Mikko Suorsa (Nokia), Fiona Southward (IPIS), and Herbert Lust (formerly Boeing).

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Ambassador Samantha Power Recognizes PPA in Remarks Before the United Nations

Mar 24, 2016

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power recognized the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) in her remarks before the UN on Monday. In her statement – which stressed the importance of rule of law, government accountability, and respect for human rights in creating the environment required for peace and economic development – Ambassador Power expressed concerns about recent trends in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi to delay scheduled elections and to suppress protest and critical commentary by civil society, opposition groups, and the media.

Ambassador Power exhorted those nations’ leaders to prioritize their countries’ stability and preserve the progress observed in the last decade by changing this course of action and instead promoting democratic processes. She underscored the United States’ commitment to partnership in supporting such processes, and to promoting stability and institution building in the region, saying, “This has been evident in our longstanding aid programs, our efforts to encourage stability, and our commitment to institution building. It is evident too in our strong support for the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Trade in Minerals, which we hope will enable supply chain solutions that encourage the legitimate trade of natural resources.

RESOLVE serves as secretariat to the PPA – a coalition of 51 member organizations from industry, civil society, and government (U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region). The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains align due diligence programs and practice, encourage responsible sourcing from the region, promote transparency, and bolster in-region civil society and government capacity.

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Supply Chain Transparency + Resource Diplomacy

Sep 18, 2014

What can Tiffany, Apple, and Motorola Solutions do to create peace? They can partner with mining companies, governments, NGOs, refiners, and others to promote ethical supply chains that support peace and development. These partnerships are happening, and while they’re creating significant change, some fundamental challenges continue.

Ambassador Tim Martin (former Canadian Ambassador to Colombia and Chair of the Kimberley Process) and I just published an article in this month’s journal of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Conflicts of the Future. The article – entitled Conflict Minerals, Ethical Supply Chains, and Peace - focuses on how supply chain initiatives have developed over the last 15 years. In our article, Tim and I discuss the last two decades of progress in sustainable sourcing of the minerals that appear in our smartphones, our jewelry, and other products. The article pulls lessons from the early days of the Kimberley Process, more recent initiatives like Solutions for Hope, and other efforts in between to highlight the importance of and continuing need for multi-sector “resource diplomacy” – interventions by public-private coalitions to support capacity building in regions impacted by conflict.

Read more about Tim’s thoughts on the need for resource diplomacy on his blog.

Find out what Intel is doing here. Check out this public-private partnership supporting responsible sourcing efforts. You can also read about Motorola Solutions’ contribution through closed supply chains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Mike Loch’s article Taking the Conflict out of Conflict Minerals.

– Steve D’Esposito, President

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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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Ethical Electronics – Starting at the Source

Oct 24, 2012

I saw a story that ran on October 6th in The Observer (London) with the title “Is there an ethical laptop?” The author, Lucy Siegle, raises a number of questions about ethical consumption and production—looking at electronics in particular.

I know of some good news when it comes to electronics and ethical sourcing. Check out this short video clip from Motorola Solutions about the Solutions for Hope project. Turns out that Motorola Solutions, and others like AVX, F&X, Flextronics, HP, Intel, Motorola Mobility, Nokia, and Research In Motion didn’t stop at creating conflict free supply chains for tantalum (although they are doing so); they decided to support the direct sourcing of tantalum from conflict-free mines in the DRC—the region targeted as a potential source of minerals that support conflict.

The easier solution would have been for Motorola Solutions and other companies to simply turn their supply chains away from the region, sourcing their tantalum from other parts of the world. But they took this additional step. They invested effort and resources in working with civil society and others to identify a conflict free mine site and support a dedicated chain of custody—from mine to product. The video does offer hope. Check it out.

There is more work to do. The Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) is serving as a public-private catalyst for capacity building to support additional in-region sourcing in the region and to help make sure that “conflict-free” does not mean “Congo-free.”

RESOLVE is helping these stakeholders—both corporate and civil society. We’re the secretariat for the PPA, and the Solutions for Hope story and its cousin Conflict-Free Tin Initiative can be found on our Solutions Network.

Steve D’Esposito

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