The responsible supply of minerals is an increasingly important issue, in terms of both the regulatory framework and public opinion.
The extraction and treatment processes are having a negative impact on human rights and on the environment in the case of minerals from conflict areas in Africa and tin in Indonesia.
Metals are present in mobile handsets and other technological products. Although telecommunications operators do not manufacture them and do not intervene in the manufacturing process, we are aware of our role as agents in promoting the solution to this problem. That is why we are working to foster responsibility and transparency in the supply chain, in order to guarantee the traceability of the minerals used.
At Telefónica, we are aware that the search for a solution to situations of this kind is complex and that it goes beyond the companies themselves. Therefore, a commitment is necessary on the part of local authorities and governments, companies and the non-profit organisations in the sector.
For our part, we have introduced different measures to guarantee that the products we receive from our suppliers are obtained in a responsible manner and we form part of the main sectoral initiatives, aimed at reducing the impact and repairing these types of situations related to minerals. As a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, we comply with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and with the Consumer Protection Law. Specifically, we have introduced sustainability criteria regarding this aspect in our purchasing process, as part of sustainable management of the supply chain in order to ensure due diligence.
We have introduced different measures to guarantee that the products we receive from our suppliers are obtained in a responsible manner.
Thus, we follow the OECD’s guidelines established in its “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas”, and we encourage its application among our suppliers who work with these minerals. We expect these companies to establish an adequate management system which addresses this issue and which makes it possible to: identify the risks and evaluate its supply chain; define a risk management plan, if applicable; carry out an independent audit with third parties, if necessary; and inform of its progress to proactively mitigate the risks of the abuse of human rights.
Regulation of the European Parliament on minerals
The proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on minerals from conflict-affected areas establishes a voluntary process by means of which EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold will be able to self-certify that they do not contribute to the funding of armed conflicts.