Motorola pilots conflict-free supply in CongoSeptember 2011
One of the world’s largest telecommunications groups has announced a project to source conflict-free materials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Motorola’s pilot Solutions for Hope programme will tackle verification and traceability problems in the DRC by working with selected suppliers to create a closed-pipe supply line, in which every stage of the chain – mine, exporter, processor and manufacturer – is identified in advance.
The DRC is rich in electronics commodities but has been hit by trade embargoes. This is mainly due to uncertainty over the provenance of its resources and the new Frank-Dodd legislation in the US that will require companies to disclose their sourcing of certain minerals.
An independent auditor will validate the results, and Motorola hopes the validation will make the system available to other companies sourcing from the DRC, whose decades of civil war have long made it a risky proposition for businesses.
The element tantalum has already started to progress through the Solutions for Hope system.
The project is part of a network of similar programmes, such as the Tin Supply Chain Initiative, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences & Natural Resources’ certification system, and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, a voluntary project set up earlier this year to stop conflict minerals ending up in mobile phones (EP13, issue 1, p5).
Rich Valin, Motorola’s chief procurement officer, said: “While the problem of conflict minerals cannot be solved by one company or a single industry, the Solutions for Hope Project underscores our commitment to responsible sourcing from the DRC.
“This tightly controlled supply line will ensure conflict-free tantalum for these capacitors and allow time for a much-needed, conflict-free verification system to develop in the DRC.”
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