By: Tod Arbogast, Director of Sustainable Business, Dell; Judy Glazer, Director of Global Social and Environmental Responsibility Operations, HP; Gary Niekerk, Director of Global Citizenship, Intel; Mike Loch, Director of Supplier Corporate Responsibility, MotorolaYou may have recently read about the atrocities occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC holds vast sources of minerals; unfortunately, some of the profits derived from extracting these minerals are linked to groups reported to be committing serious human rights violations. Minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, used in numerous industries including aerospace, automotive, electronics and jewelry, are extracted in the DRC, among other locations. In the electronics industry, the mining of these minerals takes place many layers before a final product is assembled, making it difficult if not impossible to trace the minerals’ origins. As the electronic products our companies manufacture do contain these materials, and some of them could potentially originate from conflict regions of the DRC, Dell, HP, Intel and Motorola are jointly hosting a multi-industry forum to help develop transparency, accountability and assurance mechanisms in the supply chain of extracted metals. This forum, set for Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the BSR conference in San Francisco, aims to help us learn from those who’ve made this journey before and established certification processes for their suppliers. We will hear from those mapping their supply chain down to the mines, and from mining and smelting operations that are conducting business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. We hope this forum will help determine what actions we need to take to move forward on this important issue. We already expect our suppliers, wherever they operate, to meet our standards for socially and environmentally responsible operations. That said, ensuring that our supply chain does not contribute to human rights violations in the DRC, or any other country, requires cooperation and commitment within every layer of the supply base. If you’re a decision maker in a company whose products contain these minerals, or if you have influence in the area of corporate responsibility in your corporation, we encourage you to join us in this important discussion at BSR. Finding a solution will require a force larger than any one company or industry, and we invite you to participate. Please confirm your attendance with Stephanie Nelson.
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