Engagement and collaboration

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Working with other parties who share our vision of making sustained improvements to transform the extended supply chain is central to our work.

Collaborating with industry groups, academics, nongovernmental organizations and other professional organizations is a way of leveraging individual efforts for the benefit of the whole. IBM openly shares our work and learns from these varied groups in order to make ongoing investments in supply chain social responsibility.

In 2015, IBM’s involvement with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) remained strong in terms of support, participation and utilization of the organization’s growing base of collateral. The EICC continues to expand its membership and make strides toward its ultimate goal of creating a sector that consistently operates in a socially and environmentally responsible fashion. As a founding member, IBM encourages its suppliers of products and services to join the group and participate in the development and deployment of resources aimed at driving improvements in social responsibility. At year-end, the EICC had grown to 109 member companies across retail, electronics brands, contract manufacturing, hardware components, software, logistics, communication and (new) automotive industries, representing multiple distinct tiers of the extended supply chain. IBM is also an active member of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), which is focused on the topic of conflict minerals (detailed in the following section).

Each member of IBM’s Supply Chain Social Responsibility team is part of one or more of the EICC’s workgroups. This allows us to remain engaged in, contribute to and learn from other companies that constitute the various groups. IBM expanded its participation in a number of EICC or CFSI working groups, including:

  • Code revision workgroup
  • Validated audit process workgroup
  • Capability building workgroup
  • Indirect spend workgroup
  • China smelter engagement team
  • Europe smelter engagement team
  • Asia/Indonesia smelter engagement team
  • Global smelter engagement team
  • Gold subteam
  • Conflict minerals reporting template team
  • Vlookup team
  • Due diligence practices team

Building upon its long history of working with indirect suppliers (often in our services and software businesses), IBM co-leads the EICC’s indirect spend workgroup. This group is engaging EICC members that deploy the EICC Code of Conduct to indirect suppliers that support the electronics industry. Suppliers in this sector are varied and range from large global firms to locally owned small enterprises, which presents a challenge in terms of communicating and assessing compliance to the EICC code. This workgroup is also engaging key suppliers to collaborate on determining the most effective means of deploying the code and assessments in this varied sector of the supply chain.

The EICC annual report provides an in-depth review of the organization’s accomplishments. This report is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the areas the EICC is engaged in and the collateral being developed for members and suppliers to use in making improvements across the five pillars of the EICC Code of Conduct. The report also publishes aggregate results for EICC audits commissioned by members and their suppliers during the course of the year.

Through the collective efforts of its members and external parties, the EICC attained these notable accomplishments in 2015:

  • Created a cross-functional (stakeholders and EICC membership) sensing assessment map
  • Launched an EICC public policy advisory group, and engaged international governments and bodies on topics covered by the EICC Code of Conduct
  • Completed a thorough stakeholder and membership review of the EICC Code of Conduct and released Version 5.1 (effective January 1, 2016)
  • Held outreach meetings in Belgium, China, Korea, Mexico, Malaysia and the United States
  • Facilitated dialogue on trafficked and forced labor, at EICC meetings and conferences among industry, government and civil society groups in the United States, China and Malaysia
  • In cooperation with nongovernmental groups, sponsored development of a student worker toolkit (vocational education and training) to help support responsible management of student interns by electronics manufacturing facilities in mainland China
  • Expanded the geographic coverage of the validated audit process to 35 countries and deployed audit protocols for manufacturing, service suppliers and labor agencies
  • Partnered with Verisk Maplecroft to create a new tool for members’ supply chain risk assessment work
  • Continued growing membership in the EICC/Global e-Sustainability Initiative CFSI and published updated rosters of conflict-free smelters for all four conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold)
  • Expanded its permanent office in Alexandria, Virginia, and opened a satellite office in Malaysia; hired additional staff to assist the organization in reaching its goals and objectives

In addition to its involvement with the EICC, IBM continues its engagement activities with local and nongovernmental organizations around the globe. As a key member of the electronic industry in Mexico, IBM collaborates with industry chambers and nonprofit organizations that share our passion for a sustainable and responsible supply chain. One example is the continuous collaboration for the last five years with Red Activo Sustentable, a nonprofit organization that continues to help small and medium-sized enterprises to develop responsible practices.

IBM continues to build its relationship with Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral, a nongovernmental organization located in Mexico. Through open communication, we are addressing in a constructive manner areas of mutual concern regarding working conditions in our regional supply chain.

In 2015, IBM furthered its broad-based external collaboration by attending and presenting on its various social responsibility supply chain initiatives in these important venues:

  • Panel discussion speaker on indirect supply chain at the EICC’s annual meeting (Responsible Electronics) in San Jose, California
  • Presented at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina, Meredith College, The Wharton School Executive MBA program, Georgetown University and the Institute of Supply Management Conference on supply chain sustainability and the imperative for companies to adopt, implement and execute