Conflict minerals: issues further down the chain
In line with Philips’ commitment to supply chain sustainability, we feel obliged to implement measures in our chain to ensure that our products are not directly or indirectly funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We are concerned about the situation in eastern DRC where proceeds from the extractives sector are used to finance rebel conflicts in the region. Philips is committed to address this issue through the means and influencing mechanisms available to us, even though Philips does not directly source minerals from the DRC and mines are typically seven or more tiers removed from our direct suppliers.
Although this region has a rich supply of minerals, its economy has collapsed due to decades of ongoing conflict. In an effort to prevent minerals from financing war, many companies worldwide have shied away from purchasing minerals from the DRC, creating a de facto embargo in a region where mining is often the only source of income for local communities. We decided that this was not the right approach and instead of avoiding the DRC, we took the more difficult road, supporting conflict-free sourcing from the DRC. To promote cooperation and economic growth in the region outside the control of the rebels, we launched the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative. This initiative introduces a tightly controlled conflict-free supply chain of tin from a mine in the DRC all the way down to an end-product. Philips is one of the industry partners brought together by the Dutch government that initiated the program in 2012. To underline our commitment to conflict-free sourcing, we joined a delegation in February 2013 to visit the mine and engage with different local stakeholders in the DRC. At the end of 2013 we reached an important milestone when the first end-user products containing this conflict-free tin were made in our Philips Lighting factory.
During 2013 we continued our work with 349 priority suppliers to raise awareness and conduct supply chain investigations to determine the origin of the metals in our products. This resulted in the identification of 191 smelters in our supply chain involved to process these metals. We publish this smelter list on our website, creating transparency at deeper levels in our supply chain of those actors that we believe hold the key towards effectively addressing the concerns around conflict minerals. Philips encourages all smelters in our supply chain to join the Conflict Free Smelter program and demonstrate their conflict-free status via independent third party assessments. 29% of the smelters identified by our suppliers have now successfully passed the Conflict Free Smelter assessment. As sufficient conflict-free smelters for all four metals (Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold) will become available, Philips plans to direct its supply chain towards these smelters.
We believe that industry collaboration and stakeholder dialogue are important to create impact at these deeper levels of our supply chain. Therefore Philips continued its active contribution to the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative, a joint effort of the EICC and GeSI and others to positively influence the social and environmental conditions in the metals extractives supply chain. To assist in developing a due diligence standard for conflict minerals, we continued our participation in the multi-stakeholder OECD-hosted program for the implementation of the “OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas”. We also continued our engagement with relevant stakeholders including the European Parliament, other industry organizations and local as well as international NGOs in Europe and the U.S. to see how we can resolve the issue.
In line with the US Dodd-Frank Act, we started preparations for publishing a Philips Conflict Minerals Report, including an audit of the Conflict Minerals Report as required by the Act.
For more details and result of our supplier sustainability program, please refer to Supplier indicators.