By Christian Morales, Intel Vice President and General Manager of Intel EMEA
Today, the European Commission adopted a proposal to establish a European framework for supply chain due diligence and self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten & gold originating in conflict affected and high risk areas. Christian Morales, Intel Vice President and General Manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said “Intel welcomes the Commission proposal for EU action to address this important issue. At Intel, we take this matter very seriously. Tackling what initially looked to be a near-impossible challenge several years ago, we are committed to implement systems required to achieve a conflict free supply chain that we have today. We are conscious it is a long journey which needs the collaborative effort of many to succeed.”
In 2012, our first major step in this process was to validate our microprocessors as conflict free for tantalum. Earlier this year, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that the company reached an important milestone in this long journey — Intel is now manufacturing, and shipping, conflict free microprocessors.
Success also requires leadership by national governments and the European Union to help maintain broad momentum to address stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). An important step towards stability is to ensure a way forward for in-region sourcing. Together, governments and industry can support legitimate mining and local communities in the DRC, while taking conflict minerals** out of the supply chain.
Our journey is far from complete. Other companies that use conflict minerals – particularly major electronics, aerospace and automotive corporations – should join the effort to tackle this important global issue. As long as profits from the sale of minerals mined in the Congo are funding human rights atrocities and crimes in the region, our work is not done.
“Conflict minerals” originating from the DRC are sometimes mined and sold, under the control of armed groups, to finance conflict and violence. Some of these conflict minerals and the metals created from them can make their way into the supply chains of both industrial and consumer products. Over the past several years, governments, the private sector and NGOs have come together to help build a responsible, conflict-free minerals trade.
*We define “conflict-free” products as those manufactured with metals from smelters that have been validated by the EICC and GeSI CFS program, or other country of origin determination and due diligence, to be “DRC conflict free,” as that term is used in law.
**The term “conflict minerals” is defined in US federal law as columbine-tantalite (the metal ore from which tantalum is extracted); cassiterite (the metal ore from which tin is extracted); wolframite (the metal ore from which tungsten is extracted); and gold. The term broadly covers these minerals on a worldwide basis, but the focus of the law is on the possibility that the mining and sale of these minerals from the DRC or adjoining countries could be financing armed conflict.