Advancing “conflict-free” by offering smelters an incentive

This entry was posted on behalf of Carolyn Duran, “Conflict Free Minerals” program manager at Intel.

Last month Intel announced two key goals around manufacturing a “conflict-free” microprocessor – a stretch goal for us in which all the pieces to achieve this goal have not yet come together.  In pursuit of these goals, we mapped our supply line and identified smelters in our supply chain. We worked with these smelters to encourage them to participate in the EICC-GeSI Conflict Free Smelter (CFS) program so that they can be validated as conflict-free.  Some smelters have started that process, and we are very thankful for their commitment to conflict-free sourcing; others have not.  When we probed these smelters on what was “holding them back”, the financial burden of the audit was often cited as a reason for not participating.   With that in mind, we wanted to see if we could help to reduce that barrier, thus encouraging more smelters to become “early adopters” of the CFS program. 

We decided this was the right thing to do; so we committed funds, we were joined by two other companies (HP and the GE Foundation) to join in funding the effort, and we engaged an independent third-party, RESOLVE, to help us develop the program.  We worked with RESOLVE so that we could a) ensure any program implemented would be objective and independent, and b) facilitate additional companies contributing funds to support the cause.  I am very pleased to share the results of this effort with you.  On Monday, RESOLVE formally announced the CFS Early-Adopters Fund (here), in which smelters who successfully pass their initial CFS audit can receive an incentive to help offset their costs. We hope this incentive program will increase smelters adoption of CFS, and hasten the speed in which the supply chain moves towards “conflict-free.”

Linda Qian

About Linda Qian

Linda focuses on CSR communications both internally and externally with Intel's global Corporate Responsibility Office. She graduated in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources. Follow Linda on Twitter at @lindalqian and @Intelinvolved. She is also active on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Instagram.

One Response to Advancing “conflict-free” by offering smelters an incentive

  1. Mark Gussack says:

    Carolyn, as a company engaged in the recycling of Tantalum, we decided almost two years ago to have a CFS audit. We passed and have had our second audit, which we also passed. We did it because it was the right thing to do. I believe that any company that says they cannot do it because of cost, is just using that as an excuse to cover up non-compliance. Exotech has decided that the money given us by the ‘early adopters program’ will be donated to either the Enough Project or Save the Children. It too is the right thing to do. If a company cannot afford to do the audit, perhaps they should not be in the Tantalum business.