Mining the Disclosures 2015 is now available!
Mining the Disclosures 2015: An Investor Guide to Conflict Minerals Reporting in Year Two

RSN Updates

Read our updates to learn more about RSN’s work.

Monday
Feb082016

Increasing Knowledge and Actions to Address Modern Day Slavery

Slavery and human trafficking abuses have been around for centuries, but an amplified call for corporations to identify and tackle any linkages they may have to current abuses has grown even louder in recent years. Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) has been playing a lead role in raising awareness and encouraging solutions to combat modern slavery deep in corporate supply chains since 2007. This month, RSN Founder and Director, Patricia Jurewicz, will be presenting at two anti-slavery events: a webinar on February 10 and an in-person meeting in San Francisco on February 25.

For years, investors, human rights groups, and other stakeholders have been asking corporations to increase their activities and reporting on how they are addressing slavery and trafficking. Today, new regulations, adaptive technologies, and collaborative approaches are starting to have an impact on curtailing the abuses. A 2012 U.S. Executive Order greatly expanded the anti-trafficking amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for government suppliers, contractors, and their supply chains. Innovative traceability software is giving companies increased transparency to their raw materials, and benchmarks to measure companies’ anti-slavery and trafficking performance are being established. Expectations on companies continue to evolve and become more sophisticated to address the hidden egregious injustices.

To assist companies and others to understand the new legislation, guidance documents, technologies, and benchmarks, there are two public events in February (advanced registration is needed). On Wednesday, February 10 at 11 a.m. PT, RSN, Know the Chain, and Source Intelligence will be presenting the webinar, Modern Slavery and Forced Labor: Company Insights and Industry Standards for your Supply Chain in 2016. On Thursday, February 25, United Way and Sabre are hosting the in-person meeting, Business and Technology Leadership Forum to Combat Human Trafficking, which will bring corporations and human rights experts together. Both events will address information and solutions from a wide variety of perspectives.

We hope you can join us!

 

Monday
Feb012016

Intel Became a “Conflict-Free Company” by Engaging in the DRC, Not Avoiding It. Bravo!

Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) measured company progress in 2014 and 2015 in our Mining the Disclosures reports, which provide tools to companies and stakeholders. Earlier this month, top-ranked company Intel announced that it would begin labeling all its products with a “CF” for “conflict-free”.

To date, only two companies, Signet and AVX, have found their products to be DRC Conflict-Free, while over a thousand publicly traded companies from across dozens of industries have been unable or unwilling to prove that all of their products are DRC Conflict-Free. Even those who have shown the greatest transparency and commitment, such as Philips, EMC, Qualcomm, GE, and HP, are still working to verify that their supply chains are 100% conflict-free. Unfortunately, not everyone is following their lead: hundreds of companies have sidestepped filing a full conflict minerals report (CMR). Many others have embargoed the entire DRC region as their risk management strategy, refusing to support leading companies in their efforts to identify and promote local conflict-free sources. 

In contrast, companies like Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers have taken leadership in sourcing conflict-free gold from the DRC region, working with the Enough Project. Fairphone recently announced that its new phones would be the first electronics products to contain Fairtrade gold. Fairphone worked to engage partners and suppliers in creating a transparent, Fairtrade gold supply chain, from Fairtrade mines in Peru to the final Fairphone 2 product.

Intel too has taken this harder but more responsible route, as one of the few companies linking its risk mitigation efforts to outcomes in DRC mining communities, and reporting fully on its due diligence systems in its top- ranked conflict minerals disclosure, including an independent private sector audit.

Even when there is a paper trail for the four conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, or 3TG), it extends across oceans, continents, and conflict zones. “There’s nothing straightforward” in mineral supply chains, writes Damon Beres in a recent Huffington Post article citing RSN, and almost all conflict-free verification systems still contain gaps and glitches. Yet unprecedented collaboration and private sector leadership have given rise to improved traceability and greater transparency.

[If] we waited for a perfect system, we’d be embargoing the whole country,said a representative of Intel.  Even with more insight and control of its supply chain than other well known IT companies, it has taken Intel over five years and many resources to be able to use the “conflict-free” label. “We all need to have patience and perseverance while the complexity of complicated products and their supply chains are unraveled and accountability systems are implemented,” said Patricia Jurewicz, Director of RSN.

Silicon Valley cannot create a responsible minerals trade alone. Conflict minerals are found in products as diverse as e-cigarettes and blood sugar monitors. In its 2015 report, RSN reviewed companies from more than 20 different industries that incorporate conflict minerals into their products (Mining the Disclosures 2015, p. 7). To create a world where trade truly benefits mining communities, every company must commit to sourcing minerals responsibly.

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If you’d like to receive periodic updates from RSN, or would like to receive an invitation to our upcoming webinar on conflict-free supply chains, please email andrew@sourcingnetwork.org

Tuesday
Jan262016

BJ's Wholesale Club Signs Cotton Pledge

RSN would like to commend BJ’s Wholesale Club for signing the Cotton Pledge and for its continued opposition of the use of forced labor in its supply chain.

BJ’s should also be applauded for making their commitment public via press release and for directly informing its club members. RSN encourages companies to engage in the conversation like BJ’s has to increase awareness of the issue and stress the importance of a continued stand against Uzbek cotton produced with forced labor.

Directing the market away from materials made with forced labor from global supply chains is an arduous task, but it is possible when signatories such as BJ’s join in an industry-wide effort calling for change. With implemented transparency and accountability procedures, each signatory brings us closer to eradicating modern slavery in Uzbekistan.

 

Thursday
Jan072016

2016 Gets Underway with Cotton Pledge Support from Down Under!  

Fair dinkum!* 

The New Year got off to a fantastic start for the Cotton Pledge, because our pledge has made it Down Under!  RSN welcomes 2016 with a big g’day to Super Retail Group, APG and Co, The Just Group, Industrie, Organic Bed Threads, David Jones, Designworks, and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings as well as all of their brands for committing to help tackle forced labor in the cotton industry.

You can find our new Aussie and Kiwi mates on our list of companies and brands that have signed the pledge here! Take a look and you will see those that have taken the first step to help improve the lives of men, women, and children who have been forced to work against their will.  Make your next purchase from a pledge signatory to help fight modern slavery.

Responsible Sourcing Network wishes a happy New Year full of an abundance of human rights victories in 2016! 

By: Tom Sheahan, Cotton Initiative Intern: http://www.sourcingnetwork.org/interns/  @sheahantom

 

* fair dinkum

Australian slang; v, fair or true. To proclaim a fact or truth in a statement in such a manner.

Tuesday
Dec222015

Shop Conflict-Free This Holiday Season

Shopping for that perfect gift? No matter what gift you give or how perfect it may be, how can you find out if it was sourced “conflict-free” – or in a way that did not contribute to human rights abuses or conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

While this information has proven fairly difficult to gather, there’s good news. Many companies are making great progress in tracing specific metals in their products back to the country and mine of origin. They have responded to consumer pressure, investor expectations, and to disclosure requirements that came into effect in 2014 as part of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Manufacturers of many popular gift-items are required to report on conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold) and while some have strong policies and due diligence systems in place, others are lagging behind. You can learn more by downloading our 2015 report, Mining the Disclosures 2015: An Investor Guide to Conflict Minerals Reporting in Year Two

For a quick reference, click here to find how to evaluate the conflict minerals policies, here is an easy to read chart evaluating the world’s most popular tablet and automobile manufacturers.

A strong conflict minerals policy includes a commitment to support conflict-free minerals trade in the DRC, and not simply cut off all trade from the region which contributes to a devastating embargo effect. If your favorite tablet or car brand has a weak rating, use the company’s online feedback form, or social media, to let them know you want them to commit to source conflict-free.

We can all do our part to bring peace to the vulnerable mining communities at the heart of global supply chains this holiday season.

We are grateful for your support in 2015! Please remember RSN in your end-of-the-year charitable giving, and help us protect vulnerable communities at the heart of global supply chains. Visit www.sourcingnetwork.org/donate today!

Looking for a meaningful last minute gift for the Holidays? Check out The Peace Exchange and give a gift that supports women artisans in the Congo!

By: Andrew Arriaga, Conflict Minerals Research Manager @a_rriaga