Nokia welcomes recent developments to fight conflict minerals
GLOBAL – Nokia is taking action in developing an industry-wide approach to ensure an accountable supply chain, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts toensure that products are manufactured from ethically-sourced materials.
Tracing the minerals and metals that are used in mobile phones and electronic goods is complicated and difficult. Traceability is an issue that concerns the entire electronics industry, and any other industry potentially using metals and minerals deriving from conflict areas. That is why Nokia is an active participator to industry initiatives aimed at improving their overall traceability, even though the company doesn’t mine or even buy metals directly.
Nokia believes that an effective and sustainable solution requires that all companies in the electronics industry using metals follow the same rules and apply the same practices.
As a means of introducing industry-wide standards, Nokia is now participating in a pilot implementation of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Due Diligence Guidelines for responsible supply chain management of minerals from conflict affected and high-risk areas. The OECD Due Diligence Guidelines were a result of a multi-stakeholder consultation process, in which Nokia was an active participator.
The guidance outlines a five-step risk-based due diligence process for companies to develop responsible supply chain management for tin, tantalum and tungsten. The aim of the pilot project, which will run until June 2012, is to share information and discern best practices with companies from other sectors and large conglomerates.
The OECD guidance was the first inter-governmental agreement on how to undertake supply chain due diligence – and clarify how all the parties involved, from mines and mineral processors to the manufacturers, can identify and manage risks throughout the supply chain. A key factor in the guidance was taking a progressive approach to conducting due diligence and seeking to avoid boycotting of mining in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is also a large legitimate mining sector, employing thousands. By incorporating the flexibility to allow trade to continue, the guidance promotes responsible sourcing.
In a statement Nokia said: “While appreciating these positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of conflict minerals, we recognize that further work remains. We believe that in order to move forward with finding an effective and sustainable solution, the collaboration across different industry sectors using these same metals needs to further intensify and become practical. It is important that all the actors that so far have mainly observed the developments turn into active participants and join in the efforts. This call for constructive collaboration is also true in the wider stakeholder community, and making progress requires all of us to pull in the same direction.”
In addition to the pilot project, Nokia also welcomes the smelter audit validation processes by Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) for tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, as well as the recently introduced Minerals Reporting Template tool, a standardized template for assessing due diligence. The tool was developed to facilitate disclosure and communication of information regarding smelters that provide material to a company’s supply chain.
Since 2001, Nokia has actively worked on conflict mineral issues to improve their traceability and to guarantee sustainable and ethical sourcing. Since then, Nokia has demanded written assurance from suppliers to ensure products do not have tantalum, derived from coltan originating from conflict areas, and this was expanded to cover other metals as well. Nokia also requires key suppliers to map their supply chains for the metals in their components back down to smelter and source where possible.