RESOLVE Volunteer: An Introduction

Nov 11, 2013

Since I’ll be posting blogs periodically on the RESOLVE website and elsewhere, I thought I should introduce myself. I recently became a RESOLVE volunteer after reading Amy Larkin’s book Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy (Macmillan, 2013). Amy has been a tireless environmental activist who, in this well-documented analysis, clearly and powerfully illuminates the destructive impacts of business-as-usual, not only on the environment, but on our economy and ultimately on our way of life. Unlike many other screeds cautioning about ecological devastation, however, Environmental Debt delineates market-based and pragmatic solutions to some of our problems, not just for the future but many that are being implemented right now. RESOLVE, with whom Amy is affiliated as a strategic partner, has been a part of some of these solutions.

As I devoured her book, my feelings of hopelessness and helplessness about the mess we have made here on planet earth morphed into stirrings of optimism and excitement. Perhaps we can’t solve all of our problems with perfectly crafted solutions on the global and comprehensive scale required, but there are things that can be done as business and government and environmental groups work together. For example, large multi-nationals like McDonalds, Puma, Tiffany and Company, and Unilever have already taken steps to become more responsible environmental stewards. So perhaps all is not lost; and if so, I definitely want to be a part of the effort to make a difference.

Sure, I’ve done the typical things — recycle, change out incandescent light bulbs for fluorescents, purchase fuel efficient vehicles, turn down the thermostat, garden organically, etc. And my farm even showcases some unusual environmental initiatives, like prairie grasses and solar panels. But so much more is needed to preserve this orb that sustains us all.  I can collect rain in recycled barrels, but that doesn’t begin to address the water challenges facing many parts of the globe. I can vote for candidates with a responsible environmental agenda, but the gridlock inWashingtoncan undermine the most committed legislators. Curtailing purchases, and buying from companies whose supply chains avoid workforce and environmental abuses, makes me feel better but leaves intact capitalism’s moral blinders.

As a psychologist, a profession from which I recently retired, when particularly intransigent situations arose, I would schedule extra sessions or seek a consultation or invite in family members to help move things forward. Failure was never an option I considered, even if on occasion results were not what I would have wished. We all need a sense of agency, of being able to make a difference, in our careers and in our personal and civic lives. With Mother Earth as the endangered client, thanks to Amy’s book I now recognize that here too despair does not have to play a role. With the exceptional promise of RESOLVE’s team operating in some of the most conflicted arenas of environmental decision-making, with their Solutions Network showcasing unusual and creative global initiatives to foster more responsible stewardship of human and natural resources, I have found a partnership that restores my hope that we can still avert disaster, and preserve the gifts of planet earth for our grandchildren and generations to come.

Stay tuned as I share more about RESOLVE’s work.

- Kathy Arcuri

Kathy Arcuri is a RESOLVE volunteer.  She writes blog posts about RESOLVE’s work from her own perspective.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Comments Off

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.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Innovation and Leadership

Apr 9, 2012

It takes innovation and leadership to re-incentivize a supply chain to eliminate the potential for conflict minerals.  It also takes perseverance and trial and error—and the hard work of design, and testing, and re-design.  The CFS Early-Adopters Fund, a brain child of Intel, proves the case.  It complements the work already done to design a protocol and assurance system for conflict-free smelters and refiners.  And both HP and the GE Foundation know a good idea when they see it—and should be commended for putting creativity and resources into the final design.  What’s next?  What other fixes, programs, and tools will be needed to reach the joint goals of 1) conflict-free supply chains for tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, and 2) support to in region sourcing so local miners in DRC can participate?  Watch this space for news and a bit of editorializing.  But for now kudos to these companies and the stakeholders, such as the Enough Project, who have expressed support and are poised to continue to innovate and lead—and test and persevere.

Steve D’Esposito

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

New RESOLVE Solutions Network Program to Support-Conflict Free Supply Chain for Target Minerals

Apr 3, 2012

RESOLVE is pleased to announce the launch of a new pilot project—the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Early Adopters Fund.  This Fund, initiated by Intel, HP and GE, is designed to support responsible minerals sourcing by encouraging smelters and refineries (smelters) to become early-adopters of the CFS Program, which seeks to end supply chain support for the sale of illicit minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the surrounding region.

The CFS Early-Adopters Fund offers each smelter company an extra incentive for early participation by helping to offset transition and start-up costs if they successfully comply with the CFS Program protocol. The idea for this Fund was hatched by companies who are committed to doing what it takes in their supply chains to promote transparency, and RESOLVE’s Solutions Networkplatform is an ideal home for managing and testing this pilot program. This is a great example of leading companies taking action to promote transparency and responsible sourcing in their supply chains. Intel, HP, and the GE Foundation are sponsoring this new, independent fund, and other leading organizations have been invited to support the Fund as well.

Because so much of this design is new, we do not expect it to be perfect at the outset. As with so much of the innovative work taking place to respond to conflict minerals, we are committed to working with stakeholders to continue testing and making improvements. Approximately a year into the pilot program we will invite key stakeholders to review the program results and help determine how to further strengthen efforts to support capacity building in the supply chain for conflict-free minerals.

RESOLVE’s President, Stephen D’Esposito explains “Early leadership from electronics companies helped catalyze development of the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, and once again we see leaders like Intel, HP and the GE Foundation taking action to make a difference in the world supply chain. RESOLVE is committed to work with stakeholders to test programs like this and inform, refine and strengthen policy and voluntary efforts on such issues.”

The Fund is part of a growing fabric of programs designed to build capacity to respond to the challenges of conflict minerals. The EICC and GeSI, these same sponsoring companies and others also support the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals, a joint initiative between governments, companies, and civil society to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. To find out more about this program and RESOLVE’s involvement, click here.

For more information on the CFS Early-Adopters Fund, click here. And, for more information on RESOLVE’s other voluntary governance projects, click here.

- Beth Weaver

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Coming in 2011…

Dec 21, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, the RESOLVE team is reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead. In 2010 RESOLVE launched the Solutions Network – which is still in development and growing with a variety of innovative projects. Check out this link in 2011 for more info on specific Network projects. We’ll be launching our new RESOLVE website in 2011 and wanted to give you a sneak preview. The site is the result of great logo design and conceptual work by Leo Burnett, the brand guidance of Chuck Pettis and the creativity and dogged work of Michael Brumm at Ascent Coalition. Check it out and stay tuned for the launch in early 2011.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Comments Off