WASHINGTON, D.C, June 17, 2013 – The Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) held its eleventh Conflict-Free Minerals Supply Chain Workshop on 8 and 9 May in Hong Kong. This event, the CFSI’s first workshop in China, expanded outreach to smelters and refiners, provided an update on global regulatory developments, and discussed ongoing in-region activities. The workshop also hosted panels and breakout sessions on initiatives and tools that support conflict-free sourcing, reporting, and due diligence.
In his keynote address, Mr. Raveentiran Krishnan, Group Senior General Manager of Smelting at Malaysia Smelting Corporation (MSC), focused on the importance of taking action to address violence related to mineral resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Regardless of who is responsible for the situation in the DRC, we all have an obligation to do our part to address funding of the violence,” said Krishnan. “Failure to act, to participate in the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, undermines progress in the effort to source responsibly.”
Over 130 participants attended the event, including stakeholders from entities in the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold supply chains; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority; the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD); the U.S. State Department; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the European Commission; the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR); the aerospace, apparel, automobile, jewelry, and retail industries; representatives from the electronic industry and many civil society and socially-responsible investor organizations.
The workshop began with a first ever outreach session targeted specifically at smelters and minerals traders. This session was designed to educate participants on how in-region programs help ensure conflict-free minerals are available in the metals supply chains and how companies can utilize downstream programs to demonstrate conflict-free sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The session’s presenters also explained how industry programs such as the ITRI Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) and the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Program relate to international standards and expectations, such as the Due Diligence Guidelines of the U.N. Security Council’s Group of Experts on the DRC, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the ICGLR Regional Certification Program, and the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s implementation rule.
Also discussed during the workshop were updates on the World Gold Council's Conflict-Free Gold Standard, conflict minerals regulatory progress in the U.S. (related to Dodd-Frank), Canada and the European Union, and work being undertaken by international organizations such as the OECD. Other presentations over the course of the two days focused on the coordination of many initiatives such as the ICGLR’s Regional Certification Mechanism, iTSCi, the Certified Trading Chains, and the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. These initiatives set the infrastructure in place such that programs such as the Conflict Free Tin Initiative and Solutions for Hope can source minerals from the DRC. Furthermore, participants learned about compliance and reporting tools for smelters and downstream companies including the CFS Program and the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template and Dashboard.
The workshop featured three concurrent break-out sessions providing participants with forums to share updates and company practices on relevant systems and tools, discuss approaches for handling material from indeterminate sources, and brainstorm ideas for engaging additional smelters and refiners in the CFS Program. Feedback received during the break-out sessions will be used to further enhance the CFSI programs.
The next Workshop will be held the week of 9 September 2013 in Washington, D.C.