Sourcing Minerals Responsibly
Tin, tantalum/coltan, tungsten (3Ts)and gold are used widely in manufacturing consumer electronic devices. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has vast reserves of these natural resources. Many of these minerals are illegally sourced and traded by armed groups in the eastern DRC and surrounding areas who are responsible for human rights violations throughout the region. Accordingly, tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold sourced from the DRC have become commonly known as “conflict minerals.”
In order to address the issues related to conflict minerals, governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the consumer electronics industry are working to develop legitimate trading systems and processes that include more stringent scrutiny over mineral sourcing and the transparency of global supply chains. This effort has become a priority for Samsung Electronics as part of our overall corporate social responsibility initiative. Samsung will continue to closely follow the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rulemaking and implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Section 1502, July 2010) regarding the use of conflict minerals in the manufacturing of consumer electronics products to ensure responsible mineral sourcing practices.
Overview of Conflict-free Mineral Sourcing Initiatives
In the United States, the electronics industry, through the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), began working to resolve the conflict minerals issue in 2007. The EICC and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) formed the Extractives Work Group, which is responsible for identifying the sources of the 3Ts and gold, and understanding supply chains from the mineral’s source to the final consumer product.
Using the results of this project, the EICC/GeSI Extractives Work Group developed the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFS), which debuted in 2010. The Program aims to identify and certify conflict-free minerals sourced from the DRC. CFS certified smelters undergo third-party validation, certifying that they source only conflict-free material. At present, the CFS has published a list of CFS certified tantalum, gold and tin smelters. Smelter list for tungsten will be published in the near future. In 2011, Samsung identified 36 smelters in use from our suppliers.
Samsung's Progress Toward Conflict-free Mineral Sourcing
Samsung Electronics takes the issue of conflict minerals very seriously. We are seeking ways to eliminate the use of conflict minerals, including tin, tantalum/coltan, tungsten, and gold, in all of our products, and have required our approximately 2,000 suppliers to sign a compliance agreement stating they will not use these minerals. In addition, we are working closely with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) to evaluate the current status of minerals distribution to ensure best practices are followed. The EICC/GeSI reporting template was distributed to suppliers and Samsung has completed its first investigation. Samsung is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility, and we continue to proactively evaluate our sourcing policies to ensure they are addressing existing and emerging issues associated with our industry.