The Dodd-Frank Act was passed to help ensure that electronics manufacturers aren’t financing conflict. It requires publicly traded companies to report whether they use tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries. As an unintended consequence, many companies completely stopped sourcing from this region.
Instead of turning away from regions with a high risk of conflict, we want to do business in areas where we can have the greatest impact. To support economic development and encourage responsible mining practices in the DRC and beyond, we’re partnering with a variety of initiatives to set up transparent supply chains for the essential minerals used in our phones.
Besides the DRC, other regions also face huge social and environmental costs because of tin extraction. Banka Belitung in Indonesia, is one of such examples where tin mining has devastating consequences. If more sustainable tin from Banka becomes available as a result of the current work by the Indonesian tin working group, Fairphone will make a serious effort to include this tin in its supply chain.
We’re excited to announce that we have expanded our cobalt partnership: fellow electronics manufacturer Philips Lighting has joined our efforts! Together, we’ll work to connect cobalt from artisanal mine sites that meet baseline standards to our battery supply chains, and will source it through Huayou Cobalt.
In addition, we’ll collaborate to develop programs that focus on health and safety and fairer incomes for local ASM miners. As a first step, we’re joining forces with the Better Cobalt program to initiate monitoring at selected mine sites. This will give us more insight into the issues miners face and help us develop a clear road map for improvements.
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