H.C. Starck has reported that its tantalum supply chain has been declared free of “conflict minerals” for a second consecutive year following an independent audit. The audit was conducted by a third party auditor assigned by the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) as part of the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Validation Programme.
All of H.C. Starck’s tantalum processing plants in the United States, Germany, Japan, and in Thailand were audited at the beginning of 2012 and were found to meet all CFS site requirements. To be declared conflict-free, H.C. Starck’s tantalum processing plants have to maintain a documented conflict minerals policy, deploy a system for tracing finished goods back to their mine of origin and document that all of its purchased materials are from non-conflict sources.
“A conflict-free raw material supply is a core part of our sustainability commitment to our customers and a key element of our obligation as a responsible Corporate Citizen,” said Andreas Meier, President & CEO of H.C. Starck. “For more than ten years, we have maintained stringent worldwide guidelines for purchasing raw materials only from ethical, non-conflict sources and we have integrated comprehensive sustainability criteria into our procurement process. This audit result is confirmation of our continuing commitment and consistent work in this area.”
In early 2010, H.C. Starck introduced its own Responsible Supply Chain Management System (RSCM) for the procurement of raw materials. This system ensures efficient and competitive purchasing as well as helps to avoid sourcing from conflict regions or from suppliers that do not act in line with environmental and social sustainability. “With a variety of control mechanisms, we perform thorough due diligence on all raw material offers based on current OECD and EICC guidelines before we sign any contract or accept any material,” said Andreas Meier. The system fulfils all requirements of a management system standard required by ISO. The successful implementation of the system within H.C. Starck has been confirmed by the external auditor Bureau Veritas.
H.C. Starck fully supports the position of the EICC and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to avoid the use of ores and metals which finance or benefit armed groups in the DRC or adjoining countries. H.C. Starck is also aware of section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act pertaining to “Conflict Minerals”. The company is committed to actively supporting its customers with their diligence and disclosure requirements as required by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s final regulations, which are expected to be issued later in 2012.
About the EICC certification
H.C. Starck is one of the first companies to pass a second consecutive audit under the CFS Validation Programme introduced in 2010. The programme, created and driven by the electronics industry, is being recognised and adapted by many metal industries determined to eliminate unethical sources of raw material from their supply chains. The term “conflict minerals” applies to minerals (including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold) that have originated in conflict regions e.g. within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where production and trade is closely connected with ongoing abuse of human rights.