We are working to make our supply chain 'conflict-free'

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions where armed conflict and human rights abuses occur. The term is often used to refer to four minerals – tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold (also known as 3TG) – that are mined in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These minerals are used in the production of various goods such as jewelry and virtually all electronic devices.

Responsible sourcing of minerals is an important part of our supplier sustainability commitment. We implement measures in our chain to ensure that our products are not directly or indirectly funding atrocities in the DRC. Even though Philips does not directly source minerals from the DRC and the mines are typically seven or more tiers removed from our direct suppliers, we are working toward the following goals:

  • Stop trade in conflict minerals that benefits armed groups in the DRC or adjoining countries
  • Enable legitimate minerals from the region to enter global supply chains, thereby supporting the Congolese economy and the local communities that depend on these exports.

Conflict minerals policy

Philips is committed not to purchase raw materials, subassemblies or supplies which we know contain conflict minerals. We do not directly source minerals from mines in the DRC or elsewhere, and the supply chain for these metals consists of many tiers, including mines, traders, exporters, smelters, refiners, alloy producers and component manufacturers, before reaching our direct suppliers.
Cooperation amongst these different tiers in the supply chain, as well as amongst different industries that use these metals, is crucial in effectively breaking the link between mining and conflict financing in the DRC. This is why Philips actively contributes to the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, which brings together the electronics, automotive and other industries to improve conditions in the extractives industry. And we continue to engage with other stakeholders including the European Parliament as well as local and international NGOs.

Conflict-free smelters

Smelters mix minerals from many sources and refine them into metal used in our industry. The smelter is at a key point in the supply chain to enforce responsible sourcing – by exercising due diligence in selecting their mineral sources. The Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP) identifies smelters which can demonstrate, through an independent third-party assessment, that the minerals they procure do not originate from sources that contribute to conflict in the DRC.
As sufficient validated conflict-free smelters for all four metals become available, we will direct our supply chain towards these smelters. It is Philips’ ambition for our supply of tantalum to be sourced entirely from validated smelters by the end of 2015. We regularly update the Philips smelter list with new information received from our suppliers and request the identified smelters to participate in the CFSP.