There are a number of initiatives companies can participate in which are designated to add more transparency and/or accountability to corporate value chains.
The Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Mineral Trade (PPA) launched in October 2011. This is a joint project between the U.S. Department of State, USAID, corporations, industry associations and civil society. Stakeholders pool financial and non-financial resources to assist in establishing conflict free mineral resources from the DRC. The PPA encourages interested organizations to join the current list of participants and to inquire about membership.
The Extractives Working Group has set up protocols and a system for auditing smelters (by a Third Party Auditor) who process Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold. The names of “compliant” smelters who are determined to be “conflict-free” appear on this public website.
In April 2012, Intel in collaboration with HP and the GE Foundation established the CFS Early-Adopters Fund. This fund is designed to promote early participation of smelters and refineries in the Conflict-Free Smelter Program and seeks to specifically support smelters who are compliant with program protocols established by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). For each eligible smelter company, the fund will offset a portion of the costs associated with conducting a first-year audit.
BSR is a membership-based non-profit organization that provides assistance to companies, NGOs and investors in responding to concerns regarding conflict minerals. BSR offers services such as assessment of company activities, supply chain strategy and policy development, supplier engagement plans, tools and due diligence execution, and stakeholder engagement strategies. BSR has a global network of over 300 member companies and has offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
In July 2011, the Solutions for Hope Project was launched by Motorola Solutions and AVX Corporation as a pilot initiative to source conflict-free tantalum from the DRC as well as promote economic stability of the area. The Project provides a unique approach to mineral sourcing in the Congo by using a closed-pipe supply line with a defined set of key mines, smelters, processors, component manufacturers and end users. This project is open to all companies and current participants include: Foxconn, HP, Intel, Motorola Solutions, Nokia and Research In Motion.
ITRI and TIC have developed the iTSCi In-region Sourcing program in which companies have the opportunity to join. Membership of iTSCi allows companies to demonstrate a commitment to the improvement of due diligence in the mineral sector as stated in the OECD Guidance for achieving Responsible Supply Chains from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas. The iTSCi due diligence systems includes traceability of minerals through what is called a ‘bag and tag’ system produced by mines currently in the Katanga Province of the DRC and Rwanda. The iTSCI traceability scheme indicates to international purchasers whether the respective mineral derives from acceptable mining and trading activities. iTSCi feeds into the Conflict Free Smelter Program and is currently being utilized by Solutions for Hope as well as ICGLR who have signed a partnership agreement to cooperate in setting up a tracking system, aimed at certifying the conflict-free origin of cassiterite (tin) from the Great Lakes Region. Intended users of iTSCi are upstream companies (mining cooperatives and companies, processors/negociants, exporters/ comptoirs, international traders, and smelters) and mine sites.
About ITRI: ITRI is a membership based organization representing tin producers and smelters. ITRI has specialist knowledge of tin use in all major sectors as well groups responsible for technology, statistical and market information, regulatory affairs and sustainability.
About TIC- the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center: TIC is an international non-profit, comprised of 90 members involved in the industries of tantalum and/or niobium at various stages along the supply chain.
Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives with Industry Standards:
THE OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areasprovides a practical guideline on how enterprises that are using minerals and metals can meet their responsibilities in areas of conflict and high risk. The objective is to prevent the extraction and trade in minerals from having a catalyst or causal effect on armed conflict and insecurity overlaps with ICGLR initiative against illegal exploitation of Natural resources. The OECD is endorsed by ICGLR Heads of States and through collaboration focuses on the definition of joint auditing standards and joint awareness raising measures. The OECD currently has a pilot project in process to implement its due diligence guidance for conflict minerals.
The Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) started the Extractives Working Group, which companies can join for $5,000. The EICC Code of Conductprovides guidelines for performance and compliance with critical CSR policies.
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is an inter-governmental organization of the countries in the African Great Lakes Region and was established due to recognition that political instability and conflicts in these countries have a substantial regional dimension, which require a concerted effort in order to promote peace and development. The Great Lakes Region is a frequently sited example of the ‘paradox of plenty’ as the area provides a considerable amount of natural resources which are in high demand on the global market yet this area is marked by disastrous effects of exploitation by armed conflicts and illegal trading. The key issue is the missing linkage between the supply chain of natural resource and a formal economy of ICGLR member states.
The ICGLR Certification Schemeis approved by 12 countries and members of the Multi-stakeholder group sit on its Audit Committee which includes monitoring of Third Party Auditors. Further information on ICGLR’s Mineral Tracking and Certification scheme can be found here.
The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) is an international, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to advance responsible business practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum group metals jewellery supply chain. The Council aims to build ‘a community of confidence’ across every step of the jewellery supply chain in all geographies, and among businesses large and small. It seeks to work with a wide range of stakeholders in defining and implementing responsible jewellery practices through the RJC’s certification system. The RJC’s Chain-of-Custody (CoC) Standard defines responsible ethical, human rights, social, and environmental practices through the diamond/gold jewelry supply chain.
The World Gold Council is the market development organization for the gold industry. The Council works within the investment, jewelry, technology and government sectors to provide industry leadership. The objective of the Conflict-Free Gold Standard is to create trust that the gold produced under its guidelines neither fuels armed conflict, funds armed groups, or contributes to human rights abuses associated with these conflicts. The Standard is designed to apply globally, for World Gold Council Members and other companies involved in the extraction of gold.
The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is the London-based trade association that represents the wholesale market for gold and silver in London. The ongoing work of the Association encompasses many areas, among them refining standards, good trading practices and standard documentation. The LBMA requires that all LBMA Good Delivery Gold Refiners comply with the LBMA Responsible Gold Guidance. This guidance is based on the OECD Due Diligence and provides a flexible framework for carrying out due diligence which ensures that refinery feedstock is free from metal that has financed conflict, been used for money laundering or terrorist financing.