During the past 12 months, there has been a lot of attention placed on the topic of mining and use of minerals originating from the conflict regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
IBM and other member companies of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), in conjunction with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative Supply Chain Work Group (GeSI), have been working in a concerted effort to make progress to rid the electronic supply chain of DRC conflict region-originated minerals. Four minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) originating in the DRC have been labeled as conflict minerals; however, it should be noted that these same materials are often found in other parts of the world or even from sources within the DRC that are not conflict-related.
Together EICC/GeSI (in collaboration with third-party audit firms and stakeholders) developed and deployed the Conflict Free Smelter (CFS) assessment protocol. This audit process is oriented toward smelters that play a key role in the extended supply chain, and serve as the point at which concentrated ores are refined into the higher level materials that ultimately are used in the majority of technology products. Starting in early 2011, smelters that pass a CFS audit (assuring that no conflict-sourced materials are being used) will be listed on the EICC Web site in order to assist companies in demonstrating their upstream suppliers are conflict-free.
IBM was also involved in the EICC/GeSI joint involvement with the International Tin Research Institute (ITRI) that created a pilot program in the DRC to track tin from artisanal mines to downstream smelters. IBM contributed financially to this pilot and provided a technical solution based on IBM’s Maximo Asset Manager to help track the tin ore in the supply chain.
We also engaged our direct material suppliers who provide the four minerals noted above for use in our technology sub-products, and we are working with our suppliers to identify the sources of the raw ores being used. We are poised to further expand this work in preparation for reporting that will be required by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission relating to section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Maximo® Asset Management software, used to help track tin ore in the International Tin Research Institute, unifies comprehensive asset life cycle and maintenance management on a single platform.
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