Conflict minerals, eastern DR Congo and greening the ICT supply chain
Andrew Morton, Programme Manager, Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, UNEP
The current drive to green and clean the conscience of supply chains for consumer goods including ICT equipment is a very good thing. However for minerals sourced from developing countries we are really only at first base. To be fair, there are some very well run large mines and some clear success stories to date, but the toughest challenges and regions rest largely untouched.
My presentation will focus on probably the toughest green and ethical supply mineral chain challenge on the planet - the so called conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold) from the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and aim to provoke debate by presenting a number of arguments:
Conventional supply chain certification and similar western consumer driven change processes will not work well in if at all in fragile states and the DRC in particular. If they have any impact at all it will be limited to partial market exclusion.
There is no sustainable future for artisanal mining, only partial damage limitation.
Some sites and countries are simply too difficult to fix at present and only time and exhaustion of the shallow deposits will remove the problematic artisanal miners and the predatory cultures that accompany them.
Currently only a small number of large multi-national and publicly listed mining companies have the critical combination of both the capacity and motivation to deliver slightly green and ethically sourced minerals on a scale large enough to actually drive lasting change in and around their mining concessions.
Currently only a small number of large multi-national ICT companies have the critical combination of financial health and global brand protection motivation to consistently pay more for components using green and fair minerals.
Both groups only control a percentage of their respective markets, so a 2-tier market is inevitable and could be kickstarted with only a few large bilateral deals.
The top tier of the 2-tier market could be grown in a cost effective manner by investing in improving fragile state governance and market access for responsible mining giants.
Supply chain due diligence: how ICT companies can achieve responsible, conflict-free supply chains
Sophia Pickles, Conflict Resources Campaigner, Global Witness
The metals mined in eastern DRC enter global markets and make their way into products such as mobile phones and computers. For over fifteen years, abusive armed groups, including factions of the Congolese national army, have preyed on the trade in these minerals – namely tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold - to fund a brutal war. The local population have borne the brunt of this conflict characterised by murder, pillage, mass rape and displacement.
Recent international efforts to tackle the trade in conflict minerals have focused on getting companies sourcing from Congo to do checks on their supply chains – known as due diligence – to make sure they are not supporting these armed groups through their purchases. Meanwhile the expectations of investors and consumers are growing as they look to companies to show what steps they are taking to ensure that they are not making purchases that fund conflict. The OECD has developed a detailed due diligence framework that companies can use to discharge their due diligence responsibilities. A law passed in the United States in 2010 requires US companies to do due diligence, and identifies the OECD framework as the international due diligence standard that companies are expected to use to do so.
This presentation will focus on how companies in the ICT sector can and should undertake supply chain due diligence to ensure that their purchases are not funding conflict.
Challenges Faced in Greening the ICT materials Supply Chain
Derick Simiyu Khamali, Licensing Compliance and Standards, Kenya
The ICT industry has been rated the most dynamic in economic and technological developments world over in the 21st century. The same has been translated into chief economic pillars for most economies growing at un-paralled levels in GDP contributions. Kenya like most of Africa has seen tremendous uptake of ICT products and services. The uptake in modern technology driven by ICT has seen Kenya pioneer new fronts like mobile money transfer led by Safaricom (the largest GSM network in Kenya) award winning MPESA among other services and products. Content service provision via short codes riding on mobile communication is now the order of the day in Kenya for virtually everything.
The ICT industry immensely relies on rare metals and minerals for production and operation of the ICT products. As technology advances and the population’s interest’s increase, manufacturers are ever pressured to diversify and add value to the production line. This is to ensure that their products remain relevant and can meet the market demands. This is what will distinguish them from the competition and hence fulfil the quest to grab a niche of their brands.
This paper aims at sharing the challenges faced in sustaining and greening the ICT supply chain.
The practicalities of working in the Sustainable ICT Supply Chain (from a recyclers point of view)
Jeff Bormann, Datec Technologies Limited
This presentation will give a brief description/challenges in the practicalities of working with ICT companies expectations, realisation of what is realistic in dealing with materials for recycling/reuse but also how the use of such bench marks like the carbon foot print can help to achieve reduction in environmental impact and costs. Recovery of materials/rare earths to complete the cradle to grave cycle. A look at the challenges of moving materials from country to country or continent to continent for reuse/recycling and the environmental impact and why it has to happen.