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Global Auto Industry Accelerates Action on Conflict Minerals

Image credit: AIAG

At a corporate responsibility summit for global automakers and suppliers near Detroit last week, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) announced an initiative to accelerate action on conflict minerals, which was identified in a new survey as the most significant issue facing the industry this year. The 2014 AIAG Global Automotive Corporate Responsibility Survey of more than 550 professionals working on corporate responsibility (CR) in automotive, manufacturing, and other industries in 40 countries illuminates the progress the industry has made on CR initiatives while also highlighting areas for improvement.

According to the survey, nearly half of companies polled have a policy on conflict minerals reporting — yet only half of those companies with a policy said they will meet the May 31 deadline to file a Conflict Minerals Report with the SEC, as required by law. The survey also revealed that AIAG member companies are more likely to have a conflict minerals policy, and more likely to meet the reporting deadline.

To accelerate industry action on the issue, AIAG has launched a conflict minerals awareness campaign with a microsite that explains this complex issue, the many uses for the minerals in automotive, and a plan for eliminating conflict from supply chains. It is the latest of AIAG’s industry-leading tools that provide auto OEMs and suppliers access to the resources and best practices needed to ensure that global vehicle production does not support armed conflict in central Africa, where the minerals in question — tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold — are often mined.


“The survey confirms that the global automotive industry is focused on significant corporate responsibility issues and is making important progress,” said Tanya Bolden, corporate responsibility program development manager at AIAG. “It also reinforces the need to work together and intensify our efforts in other areas.”

In February, the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) reported that it had validated conflict-free smelters or refiners of all four conflict minerals for the first time in the initiative’s five-year history, and is calling on more smelters and refiners to join the effort to become conflict-free by undergoing CFSI’s conflict minerals audit. CFSI also called on more companies to join the over 120 from seven different industries to already become conflict-free.

Later that month, Apple answered the call by revealing in its eighth annual report that all active, identified tantalum smelters in its supply chain were verified as conflict-free by third-party auditors, and that it is pushing its tin, tungsten, and gold suppliers to also use verified sources.

Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]

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