Conflict minerals in computers and monitors

Groups: 
  • Computers and monitors
Category: 
  • Human Rights

Advanced

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Contract Terms

Main Objective: 

The main objective is that so-called conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold and cobalt) that are included in the ICT equipment that are offered come from producers who conduct due diligence so that their purchases of these minerals do not contribute to armed conflicts and human rights violations.

Requirement Specification: 

Products that the supplier supplies to [name of contracting authority] shall come from manufacturers (brand owners) who have a system for responsible management of the supply chain when the following minerals are included in the products offered under this contract:

  • tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold (the so-called 3TG conflict minerals)
  • cobalt ​

The system shall be in accordance with OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from ConflICT Affected and High-Risk Areas or similar.

The supplier is obliged to ensure that sub-suppliers in the supply chain have a similar system.

Documentation of the Requirement Specification: 

The manufacturer (brand owner) shall describe his system for responsible management of the supply chain for 3TG and cobalt in the supply chain.

Having a system for responsible management of the supply chain in accordance with OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected areas or similar entails that the company for its work related to 3TG and cobalt:

  1. Has established strong company management systems that are publicly available
  2. Identifies and assesses risk (of conflict and violations of human rights) in the supply chain
  3. Design and implements a strategy to respond to identified risks
  4. Carry out independent third-party audits of supply chain due diligence at identified points in the supply chain
  5. Reports publicly on supply chain due diligence.

Approved documentation will include reporting in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act (for 3TG), use of established conflict mineral templates from e.g. RMI (Responsible Minerals Initiative), conflict mineral reports or other documentation that meets the list (1.-5.) above.

If the supplier is not itself the manufacturer (brand owner), the supplier shall enclose documentation that demonstrates how the manufacturer (brand owner) meets the requirement in line with the aforementioned description of valid documentation. If products from several manufacturers (brand owners) are offered, documentation for each manufacturer (brand owner) shall be enclosed.

The documentation shall be provided no later than one month after start of contract.

Information about the Requirement Specification: 

The aim of the contract terms is not to stop trading minerals from particular countries and areas, which is an important source of income for the civilian population, but rather to counteract and prevent trade in minerals by contributing to armed conflicts and human rights violations.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold (3TG) are components in electronic products such as computers, monitors and tablets. These minerals are extracted in countries where mineral extraction involves a high risk of human rights violations and where trade with such minerals can contribute to armed conflicts. Cobalt is a key component in ordinary rechargeable batteries that are used in computers and tablets and in electric vehicles. It is thus an important resource in the transition to the low carbon society. Serious violations of human rights have also been identified in the extraction of cobalt.

OECD has developed a global and mutually agreed framework to assist businesses to respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their purchase of and practices with minerals. The OECD’s framework identifies 5 steps that are key to ensuring responsible supply chain management of minerals (see the documentation requirement above).

Each step includes several subsections, and specific sections for different minerals, with more information in the guide from the OECD (see links). Several businesses use corresponding frameworks and perform due diligence for cobalt as well.

The requirement here is adressing manufacturers that are brand owners. A supply chain can consist of several different manufacturers, and we have therefore chosen to write “manufacturer (brand owner)” as it is the brand owners such as HP, Dell, etc., we require to have systems and that we want to see documentation from.

Following up on the requirement

When following up on the contract performance clause it is important that you ask for the documentation as specified in the clause. The deadline for the supplier to hand in documentation is one month after the start of the contract. That the supplier can show that they have as established strong company management systems that are publicly available can for example be that they can show that they have a publicly available code of conduct or simimar that regulates their supply chain work with conflict minerals and cobalt. To show fulfillment of point 2, the supplier should document that they have routines for conducting risk analysis down to the raw-material (minerals) level in their supply chain. For fullfilment of point 3 the supplier should be able to show documents that describes how identified risks will be handled.  

That the supplier fullfills point 4 can be documentet by a report  done by an independent third-party that says something about the risks, working conditions and more in the supplier's supply chain, even to the raw-material (minerals) level. In point 5, the supplier should be able to point to a website link or similar where you can find their report on work with due diligence, even to the raw material lrvel, in their supply chain.

The Dodd Frank Act

The American Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions, in section 1502, on so-called conflict minerals, 3TG. Among other things, the Act requires that companies that are listed on the American stock exchange annually report whether they use the minerals tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG) from DR Kongo or the neighbouring countries. If this is the case, the companies must conduct and report on due diligence related to their work with such minerals and submit a “conflict mineral report.”

EU Act on conflict minerals

In 2017 the EU adopted a new act relating to conflict minerals. It entails that companies established in the EU that directly import 3TG must comply with and report on obligations of due diligence in the supply chain if the minerals come from (also potentially) conflICT stricken and high risk areas. Reporting must be in accordance with the OECD’s global framework. The act will enter into force in the EU from 1 January 2021. The act applies only to the import of the aforementioned minerals as such, and does not include minerals that are included in manufactured products, such as Computers, as the Dodd Frank Act does. Public purchasers can contribute to influence that requirements are imposed for due diligence of the 3TG supply chain and cobalt for relevant procurement categories by applying this contractual term.  

Related links: 

Published: 24. Sep 2019, Last modified: 15. Nov 2019