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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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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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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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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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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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

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