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UL Introduces Platform to Help Companies Meet Conflict Minerals Mandates

Image Credit: Flickr ENOUGH Project

UL’s Information & Insights (I&I) division has introduced a new platform that can help companies identify conflict minerals sources and put the mandated comprehensive, audit-traceable reporting procedures in place quickly and cost-effectively.

The WERCSmart Conflict Minerals Platform uses an innovative SaaS platform that delivers real-time product-attribute intelligence. It offers database and decision-support tools for collecting and reporting on information from suppliers, for making smarter decisions about sourcing. The tool also includes assessment tools for vetting products, investigating sources and monitoring sustainability performance improvement across the supply chain. It features program development and advisory services that help companies design and implement due-diligence practices for sourcing raw materials in compliance with traceability requirements.

The tool is designed to help the several companies struggling to meet the Dodd-Frank Section 1502 reporting requirements that still don’t know if their products contain conflict minerals or not. The opacity of today’s complex and dynamic global supply chains can easily obscure the source of minerals and other raw materials.

Dodd-Frank requires affected companies to focus on conflict minerals in their supply chains, to verify all impacted raw materials are coming from ethical sources. However, a supply chain may have thousands of first-tier suppliers, with tens of thousands more behind them. Tracing raw materials back to their source can be difficult and expensive.

Consumers, NGOs and regulators continue to voice a need for higher standards on corporate sustainability initiatives. In February, the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) reported that it validated conflict-free smelters or refiners of all four conflict minerals for the first time in the initiative’s five-year history, and called on more smelters and refiners to join the effort to become conflict-free by undergoing CFSI’s conflict minerals audit. Recognizing the challenges of tracing and determining the conflict status of minerals in the global supply chain, the CFSI developed an audit protocol based on global standards including OECD guidance and U.S. regulations. Separately, CFSI called for more businesses to join over 120 companies from seven different industries to already become conflict-free.

At the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich outlined a range of the company’s new products, initiatives and strategic relationships aimed at accelerating innovation across a range of mobile and wearable devices, and challenged the entire electronics industry to join Intel in becoming “conflict-free.”

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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