Even as we speak, there is an ongoing conflict between armed groups in certain mineral-rich areas of Central Africa. They are waging war against each other to gain control over minerals that are substantial sources of income. The minerals are used to fund the purchase of weapons and main troops, and child labor is used to mine them.
According to a report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, children as young as seven years old are subjected to hard labor in mine sites for one or two dollars a day without any protective clothing.
Tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold and cobalt are commonly used in a wide range of electronic products, and they are among the most illegally exploited minerals in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. When tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are used to finance conflict in such conflict-affected and high-risk areas, the U.S. and international society classify them as “conflict minerals” and restrict their distribution.
Responsible minerals refer to minerals that are sourced in a way that respects human rights and the environment. Samsung strives to manage a supply chain of responsible minerals by ensuring our partners comply with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
To establish a conflict-free minerals management system and create a standard for smelter certification, Samsung works with other global companies by taking part in umbrella organizations such as the RMI and the EPRM. In 2019, Samsung also launched the “Cobalt for Development” project with BMW Group and BASF and commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to promote responsible mining practices that comply with human rights. In 2020, Volkswagen joined the initiative. In addition to offering training to cobalt miners, the project has also offered the local community better access to education and new income opportunities with training in farming and financial literacy.
Samsung published its 14th Sustainability Report in 2021 as part of its efforts toward continued transparency and by sharing its social, economic and environmental value creation achievements with various stakeholders. Published regularly, the Responsible Minerals Report communicates the efforts that Samsung is making to safeguard the future and protect the environment through a robust supply chain management system and partner participation.
Complying with the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), and OECD standards and collaborating with these organizations in managing the process
To help ensure the sourcing of responsible minerals and manage risks throughout the supply chain, Samsung has implemented the G-SRM System. The system helps promote awareness of the importance of responsible minerals throughout the global supply chain and enables partners to carry out inspections for the use of conflict-affected and high-risk minerals as well as preventive measures against anticipated risks. Materials or parts that do not meet the G-SRM System standards are restricted from being purchased, preventing minerals not responsibly sourced from entering the supply chain.
Samsung only uses minerals from smelters certified by the RMAP, a third-party responsible-mineral-sourcing program validated by the Responsible Business Association (RBA). As a result, minerals illegally mined in conflict-affected and high-risk areas, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are not used in Samsung products. In addition, we have a strict policy that minerals from the waste generated from sites in Korea are to be treated only at smelters that have received RMAP certifications.
Samsung is also striving to achieve a circular economy for minerals. We strengthened our waste management policy so minerals from waste and waste electronics are sent only to RMAP-certified smelters. To promote this practice, we are working with the Korea Urban Mining Association to encourage smelters in Korea to obtain RMAP certification.
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