Responsible management of raw materials in our supply chain includes the important issue of conflict minerals.
There are several tiers of suppliers between Ericsson and the mines and between Ericsson and the smelters and refiners, this meaning we do not have any direct purchasing relationship with mines and smelters. We believe that the collaboration with our direct suppliers and industry peers is vital in improving the business practices in the mineral supply chain, so we have actively chosen not to ban any minerals from the DRC or other conflict-affected regions as an embargo can result in severe negative consequences for the most vulnerable groups.
Instead, we work to manage raw materials in the supply chain together with our suppliers and to increase the transparency by identifying smelters and refiners in our supply chain as an important first step for making any improvements.
More information can be found in Ericsson’s Statement on Sourcing of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs)
We support the tools and system developed by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), which has developed a certification scheme, the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP), enabling smelters to become certified as conformant; this means companies can source metals from smelters and refiners certified as such.
We are working to find a viable solution to the issue of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas to ensure responsible and conflict-free sourcing through legitimate trade and positive development in the affected regions.
The basic elements of our approach are as follows:
- Our suppliers shall establish due diligence processes consistent with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas;
- The due diligence shall make it possible to reasonably verify whether conflict minerals originate in the DRC or an adjoining country;
- Suppliers shall identify smelters or refiners in their supply chain through the latest version of the RMI Conflict Minerals Reporting Template and are recommended to use conformant smelters.
In addition, we work to build capacity among our suppliers through a freely available training and via the feedback and follow-up within the specific conflict minerals program.
We also encourage our suppliers to contact smelters that are not yet validated as conflict-free to join the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) and undergo the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP). We report yearly the percentage of conformant smelters in our annual conflict mineral reports.
In 2020, we are planning to engage our suppliers in the same process of collecting information about Cobalt as well, by means of an issued and validated RMI template.
Cobalt is extracted in mechanized and artisanal mining operations and the demand for cobalt is expected to rise significantly over the coming years. Multiple reports have highlighted concerns over social and environmental impacts of cobalt extraction, including child labor and unsafe working conditions in artisanal cobalt mining.