Independent Assessment of Responsible Sourcing Pilot Programs

To support responsible sourcing and economic development in the DRC while addressing downstream concerns about due diligence and traceability, industry partners launched three “closed-pipe” (meaning they identified all supply chain participants in advance) sourcing initiatives – a Solutions for Hope tantalum pilot in July 2011, a KEMET tantalum pilot in October 2011, and the Conflict Free Tin Initiative pilot in October 2012. Anecdotally, the initiatives have improved local employment, tantalum and tin prices for tagged material and therefore income, cash flow, income opportunities for women, working conditions, and security. There have also been reported challenges.

As these are important examples of the value in downstream engagement in sourcing from DRC and GLR, and as the projects had been in place for one or more years (as of late 2014), the PPA commissioned an independent assessment of the social and economic impacts and performance of the three programs. Estelle Levin Ltd. was selected to conduct the research and assess the projects against their stated goals, as well as more generally. This assessment highlights benefits, challenges, and other lessons from CFTI, KEMET, and SfH and their application to broader sourcing and due diligence considerations for civil society, government, and companies engaged in the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold supply chains. 

Among its many findings, the assessment concluded that these programs:

  • Demonstrated and communicated “proof of concept” for viability and value of sourcing tin and tantalum from the DRC
  • Provided a platform for global-local engagement
  • Demonstrated a business case for responsible sourcing of tin and tantalum
  • Highlighted misunderstandings and mismatched expectations
  • Demonstrated the importance of identification and transparent collection of baseline data
  • Offered examples of community partnership and beneficiation
  • Highlighted broader challenges relating to ASM and governance 

These findings are discussed in more detail in the following materials:

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