We are committed to taking steps to ensure that products we receive from our suppliers are responsibly sourced.
Mineral resources from the Democratic Republic of the Congo — such as gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten — are key elements of consumer electronics products such as cell phones, personal computers, televisions and MP3 players. In addition, these minerals are also contained in a wide variety of other products ranging from automobiles and aircraft to cans. Under SEC rules issued in August of 2012, public companies like Verizon will be required to report on their products that use these minerals, with the first report to be filed in 2014.
We recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that all of our products are responsibly manufactured by our suppliers. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Human Rights Statement outlines our expectations of suppliers to conduct business with integrity and respect.
At this time, most manufacturers cannot readily provide detailed information as to the smelters, refiners, or ultimate sources of the minerals used in manufacturing communications devices such as cell phones, because of the complex and fragmented supply chains involved. Similarly, companies like Verizon, which typically resell products manufactured by other companies, have very little visibility into the source of the minerals used by the manufacturers. Because of our commitment to provide socially responsible products, we have been deeply involved in efforts to improve the transparency of the minerals supply chain. Efforts are under way in the private sector and among international organizations to provide consumers with better information about the sources of some of the key minerals contained in products.
We are working with our suppliers and with organizations such as CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade association, to address these issues. Verizon is also a member of GeSI (Global e-Sustainability Initiative), a coalition of private-sector companies that have worked together to identify several “clean” (conflict-free) sources for tantalum, which is an important conflict mineral used in various electronic equipment, and to support pilot “bag and tag” programs that can add crucial visibility on a mineral’s ultimate source.
In November 2011, Verizon and many other companies that use these minerals joined the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA) [ USAID Impact » Joining Together To Combat Conflict Minerals]. The PPA is a joint initiative of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, private sector companies and trade associations, civil society, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. These organizations are collectively calling for action to address conflict minerals concerns while delivering solutions that benefit those involved in responsible minerals trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. One of the primary goals of the PPA is to develop pilot programs that result in scalable, self-sustaining systems that enable businesses to source fully-traced and validated minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As these new programs are improved, the supply chain becomes more transparent and our manufacturers can better identify the sources of minerals in our mobile phones and other products, Verizon and other companies will be able take additional proactive measures to address this challenging problem.
There is much more work to be done, but we at Verizon are committed to taking responsible steps to ensure that products we receive from our suppliers are responsibly sourced and that the minerals trade with the Democratic Republic of the Congo promotes positive economic development for the region.