As part of ethical sourcing it is important for buyers to determine if any of their purchased materials use what are known as conflict minerals.
This has been especially difficult for buyers of electronics and high-tech manufacturers. Suppliers must be able to trace the origin of minerals to ensure the sources are not guilty of conduct such as corruption, human rights abuses, illegal extraction, and smuggling.
Examples of minerals that may not be conflict-free are tin, tantalum, tungsten, cassiterite, wolframite, coltan, and gold.
Sourcing Conflict-Free Minerals
Steps to ensure the sourcing of conflict-free minerals are:
Step 1: Trace back through several tiers of the supply chain to identify the mines or smelters that are providing the materials.
Step 2: Independently audit the smelters and refineries to ensure the minerals are conflict-free.
Step 3: Certify the mines are compliant with all regional and international legislation.