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17 April 2013 | Helen Gilbert
HP has become the first electronics company to publish details of smelters in its supply chain.
The IT firm, which has more than 1,000 production suppliers and tens of thousands of non-production suppliers spanning more than 45 countries, has compiled a list of 195 smelters within its supply chain and also had its smelter identification process independently reviewed.
HP hopes the move will be a step towards achieving a conflict-free supply chain, and that publication will encourage the smelters to become certified as conflict-free.
For more than 10 years, the mining of minerals used to produce tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been linked to the funding of armed groups waging a civil war in the country.
“We approached the issue with the same rigour as other complex operating challenges and have achieved something notable,” Tony Prophet, senior vice president of HP’s supply chain operations, printers and personal systems group, said.
“We are committed to collaborating across our supply chain as well as with NGOs and industry organisations to drive responsible sourcing within the DRC and achieve a conflict-free supply chain.”
Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst at the Enough Project, an organisation that fights to end genocide and crimes against humanity, said HP had shown leadership throughout the past four years around addressing conflict minerals within its supply chain.
“Publishing its list of smelters is another significant step in the right direction because it puts pressure on smelters to be audited as conflict free,” he said. “Just a year ago, companies were afraid of publishing lists of smelters, but this added layer of transparency can help get out consumer products to be conflict free.”
☛ The list of smelters can be found here