Published on: 2012-05-30

Supply chain meeting focuses on efforts in the Great Lakes Region of Africa

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 2012 – The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition© (EICC©) recently held the ninth conflict-free minerals supply chain workshop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The event focused on various mechanisms to assure the responsible sourcing of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold.

Joining many representatives from the electronics industry, participants at the April 11-12, 2012 workshop included stakeholders from: entities across the supply chains for tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministry of Mines; the DRC and Rwandan mining and trading sectors; the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD); the U.S. State Department; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the US Council for International Business; Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR); the aerospace, automotive, chemical, jewelry, pharmaceutical, and retail industries; civil society and socially-responsible investor organizations; and services and solutions providers related to addressing conflict minerals . 

Ambassador R. Barrie Walkley, the U.S. State Department's Special Advisor for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, provided the key note address highlighting both the advances that have been made in the region as well as the challenges that still exist. Ambassador Walkley discussed the positive steps the DRC government has taken to address the illegal trade of minerals such as rating a first set of mines green ("conflict-free and validated for trade"), yellow, or red ("unacceptable or needing improvement") to build "on the adoption of Congolese rules on due diligence that are consistent with regional and OECD standards." He also mentioned how other regional and international governments and programs are combining to address the "illegal exploitation of natural resources," such as ICGLR's work on mineral certification. While change is not coming quickly enough, Ambassador Walkley concluded, it is important for industry and diplomacy to work together to provide focus on the region and the critical issues impacting the Great Lakes Region.

The presentations focused on the convergence and coordination of many initiatives which, when fully implemented, can enable responsible mineral trade and economic development. These initiatives can also support company due diligence requirements and disclosure obligations as defined by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Initiatives that were reviewed included an update on the ICGLR’s Mineral Tracking and Certification Mechanism, the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Program, ITRI Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, and BGR’s certification and mineral fingerprinting activities. Also discussed were the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a partnership with the US State Department, USAID, industry members, civil society, expert resources, and other broader non-electronic industry actors.

The workshop also featured four concurrent break-out sessions that allowed more in-depth information sharing and discussion on the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template and Dashboard, downstream due diligence past the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template, and in-region traceability and certification mechanisms. These sessions allowed participants to delve into details of each topic and provide input to program enhancements.

The two day workshop reinforced the importance of close collaboration between industry, government, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders in guaranteeing the harmonized implementation of responsible supply chain mechanisms in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

The next workshop is scheduled for September 17 and 18, 2012, in Berlin, Germany.


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