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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Press Release: ReGrow West Africa Partnership, Which Targets Post Ebola Economic Recovery, A Featured CGI Commitment

Sep 28, 2015

RESOLVE and Partners Make New Commitment to Reignite Post-Ebola Sustainable Economic Development in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra 

September 28, 2015, WASHINGTON – Yesterday, at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York, Stephen D’Esposito, President and CEO of RESOLVE, joined Chelsea Clinton and other leaders on stage, during the Plenary Session titled “Investing in Prevention and Resilient Health Systems,” to announce a new CGI Commitment to Action: catalyzing sustainable economic recovery in the three West African countries most affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  The commitment, “ReGrow West Africa: Post-Ebola Private Sector Recovery” was selected for its “exemplary approach to addressing a critical challenge.”

The Ebola public health crisis in West Africa crippled the economies of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The withdrawal of private sector investment in these countries has led to huge losses of employment, income and government tax revenue. RESOLVE and ReGrow’s implementing partners, including the German Development Agency (GIZ), Cordaid, Chevron, the TAIA Peace Foundation, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLEIPA), leaders from the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (“EPSMG”), will support the recovery and development of the private sector in the three affected countries by building public-private partnerships to overcome early development hurdles that block viable projects.

Photo: Clinton Global Initiative

“When it comes to public health, an economic offensive is an essential form of defense.  Let’s not forget, prior to Ebola these countries were growing.  ReGrow West Africa is simply a catalyst to restart this growth and reignite the entrepreneurial spirit in these countries, underpinned by a focus on sustainable development” said Stephen D’Esposito, President of RESOLVE.

The fundamental premise behind ReGrow West Africa – that strong public health systems are reliant on strong economies with dynamic private sectors – presents novel opportunities for collaborations across sectors, and is part of a new wave of innovative economic development.

“ReGrow West Africa is more than aid, it puts assets in the hands of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for economic growth today and strengthened health systems and networks tomorrow” said Jeffrey Wright, RESOLVE Board Member, award-winning actor, and businessman who is active in development and philanthropy in Sierra Leone.

Central to this initiative is the ReGrow Marketplace, a platform that will profile investment projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and help connect them with international investors, donors and other partners. “ReGrow West Africa fills a gap by identifying development-oriented investment projects, curating the portfolio, and creating a platform for private sector partnerships,” said Hussine Yilla, a Sierra Leonean business consultant.

ReGrow West Africa includes an innovative mechanism for providing direct funding for private sector development, the Resilience Trust. Building on the $1M funding commitment from Chevron, the Trust will provide direct investment in SMEs and high-impact greenfield projects.

For more information on ReGrow West Africa and Peace Diamonds contact:

Richard Schroeder, Director, RESOLVE Sustainable Development Initiative
rsch...@resolv.org
+1 410 446 6426 or +1 202 965 6214

Stephen D’Esposito, President and CEO, RESOLVE
sdes...@resolv.org">sdes...@resolv.org
+1 202 255 2717

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

For more information, visitclintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

About RESOLVE

RESOLVE builds strong, enduring solutions to environmental, social, and health challenges. We help community, business, government, and NGO leaders get results and create lasting relationships through collaboration. RESOLVE is an independent non-profit organization with a thirty-eight year track record of success.

Link to Press Release on CSRWire: http://bit.ly/1Reebe7

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Clinton Global Initiative Features ReGrow West Africa’s Innovative Approach to Post Ebola Economic Recovery

Sep 27, 2015

Today RESOLVE was featured at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to announce a new CGI Commitment to Action, ReGrow West Africa, which aims to catalyze sustainable economic recovery in the three West African countries most affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Steve D’Esposito, President and CEO of RESOLVE and Jeffrey Wright, RESOLVE Board Member, award-winning actor, and business man who is active in development and philanthropy in Sierra Leone, shared the stage with international leaders, who were also recognized for their commitments geared towards building resilient public health systems.

Steve D’Esposito (President/CEO of Resolve) and Jeffrey Wright (RESOLVE Board member) on stage at CGI Annual Meeting

The Ebola public health crisis in West Africa crippled the economies of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The withdrawal of private sector investment in these countries has led to huge losses of employment, income and government tax revenue. RESOLVE and ReGrow’s implementing partners, including the German Development Agency (GIZ), Cordaid, Chevron, the TAIA Peace Foundation, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLEIPA), leaders from the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (“EPSMG”), will support the recovery and development of the private sector in the three affected countries by building public-private partnerships to overcome early development hurdles that block viable projects. Central to this initiative is the ReGrow Marketplace, a platform that will profile investment projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and help connect them with international investors, donors and other partners.

The panel session prior to the ceremony reaffirmed the fundamental premise behind ReGrow West Africa – that strong public health systems are reliant on strong economies with dynamic private sectors. Indeed, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, cited that diverse perspectives and collaborations, particularly engagement with the private sector, are essential components of resilient public health systems. Similarly, actress Charlize Theron, founder of the Africa Outreach Project and United Nations Messenger of Peace, stated that a business mindset needs to inform and strengthen philanthropic initiatives.

Chelsea Clinton closed the ceremony by asking the audience for an unprecedented standing ovation for the featured participants. RESOLVE is honoured to have been featured among so many diverse and impressive initiatives at CGI, and will continue to develop novel collaborations to fuel economic development and the growth of robust public health systems.

To view a recording of the event, visit: http://livestream.com/CGI/events/4366856/videos/100493557

 

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Expanding Commercial Agriculture without Clearing Pristine Rainforest

Dec 24, 2014

RESOLVE’s Dr. Eric Dinerstein and colleagues at Woods Hole Research Center, World Wildlife Fund, and University of Minnesota have identified 125 million hectares (309 million acres) of degraded lands in the tropics that could support expansion of commercial agriculture for another 25-50 years without clearing more pristine rainforest.

In a paper published in the journal Conservation Letters, the researchers defined degraded rainforests as those with an above-ground carbon density (carbon stored in vegetation) of 40 or fewer metric tons per hectare. Intact rainforest has roughly 250 metric tons/ha.

This simple, transparent measure of carbon stock can be easily monitored using remote sensing technologies and could help agricultural producers, governments, investors, environmental stewards, and consumers to invest, plant, harvest, govern, and buy tropical agricultural commodities more responsibly.

Read more about the article, entitled “Guiding Agricultural Expansion to Spare Tropical Forests,” at Mongabay.com and view the full paper here.

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6th Sustainability Breakfast Features Technologies for Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions

Nov 13, 2014

Last Thursday, RESOLVE hosted the sixth in our ongoing Sustainability Breakfast series. The event – “Eat a Bear Claw, Save an Elephant” – focused on the nexus of technology and wildlife biodiversity challenges.

RESOLVE intern Nathan Hahn kicked us off with a brief introduction to RESOLVE’s fleet of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) currently being tested for their potential to guide elephants away from farmers’ crops and people, an innovative strategy for mitigating human-elephant conflict in Tanzania . RESOLVE is currently training park rangers in Tanzania to use these UAVs – check back on our blog and Facebook page in the coming weeks for updates and photos from Nathan’s trip!

In another example of how technology is improving both the accessibility and the reliability of conservation data, Benji Jones, from the World Resource Institute (WRI), shared insights on WRI’s groundbreaking Global Forest Watch (GFW) program, which combines NASA satellite imagery, crowd sourcing, country statistics, and other sources to provide a free and comprehensive map and database of wildlife and natural resources around the world. This open-source database allows users to overlay and analyze data from a variety of sources and to contribute their own stories and validate on the ground the remotely-triggered alerts of forest loss from GFW. RESOLVE is proud to be one of Global Forest Watch’s 45 partners working on this exciting and unique tool with huge potential for biodiversity conservation.

RESOLVE’s Director of Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions, Eric Dinerstein, elaborated on the some of the applications of GFW’s work to biodiversity conservation. Since the majority of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity lives in forested areas, the information generated through GFW can help us to pinpoint the critical areas for conservation action (such as corridors between tiger habitats) and monitor encroachment on protected areas. RESOLVE is using GFW maps to identify degraded lands that are suitable for rubber, oil palm, and other agricultural industries. Shifting production onto already degraded lands can reduce pressure on forested areas, which benefits biodiversity and reduces carbon emissions. Complementary work by BWS will use the information from this analysis to help identify areas with intact forests that also have high numbers of species and natural communities (mainly in the tropics), to provide both “Go” and “No-Go” zones for future commodity production.

Discussion and Q&A with participants in the room supported RESOLVE’s belief that solutions must be designed in consultation with representatives from all sectors, including conservationists, civil society, government, and industry – to understand constraints of each sector and design solutions that are practical and workable.

Find out more about how BWS is applying technology to wildlife and forest conservation by clicking here.

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Expansion of Solutions for Hope Platform

Oct 30, 2014

As you may have seen in yesterday’s press release, RESOLVE recently received a grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation to support the expansion of the Solutions for Hope platform. You can read the story of Solutions for Hope here, but the short story is that it was conceived in 2011 when, because of legitimate concerns about conflict minerals, many companies were refusing to source from the DRC. A de facto trade embargo would have significant implications for the livelihoods of the millions of ASM miners in the DRC, and Solutions for Hope was initiated by Motorola Solutions and AVX as a pilot project to demonstrate that companies could source legal, conflict-free tantalum  from the DRC while meeting their due diligence responsibilities.

The pilot was a success and gathered the attention and participation of a number of leading electronics companies. The Conflict-Free Tin Initiative launched shortly after, aiming to apply the Solutions for Hope model to tin. Now, working with leaders from both initiatives, and with this support from Motorola Solutions Foundation, we are building on the successes and lessons to expand the platform to other minerals and geographies.

It’s a busy but exciting time! We are identifying applications in the African Great Lakes Region on gold, and we’re planning pilots to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains in Colombia. RESOLVE President Steve D’Esposito and former Canadian Ambassador Tim Martin recently published an article on the evolution of supply chain initiatives over the last 15 years and the continuing need for multi-sector interventions to support capacity building in conflict-affected regions.

Motorola Solutions Director of Supply Chain Corporate Responsibility Mike Loch will be talking about these issues and the future of the Solutions for Hope platform tomorrow as part of an event hosted by the Ford Foundation and chaired by UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson. The event, called “Managing Congo’s Natural Resource Wealth: From Plunder to Shared Prosperity” can be live streamed below.

Watch live streaming video from fordfound at livestream.com
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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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