The Path Toward Responsible Mineral Sourcing

The Path Toward Responsible Mineral Sourcing

As human rights violations in conflict-affected areas of the world gain more attention, so do expectations surrounding responsible sourcing. Companies are facing rising pressure from consumers, investors and NGOs to implement comprehensive mineral sourcing programs that transcend source of origin verification, and focus on reducing human rights violations and environmental harm throughout their supply chains.

While most large-scale mining (LSM) companies have existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in place, they may need to adapt to meet evolving regulatory requirements and the expectations of external stakeholders.

Enhancing Your Responsible Minerals Program

Minerals are extremely versatile and most have a variety of applications across multiple industries. Without them, a wide range of everyday products such as laptops, light bulbs, fiber optics and computer chips would not exist. Companies that use these minerals are beginning to implement stronger responsible sourcing programs to mitigate the risk of human rights violations and environmental harm throughout the supply chain.

To support these efforts, associations such as the Cobalt Institute have created resources and guidance companies can use to enhance their responsible sourcing programs. The Cobalt Institute promotes the responsible production and use of cobalt in all its forms, and encourages its members to abide by its seven guiding principles around protecting human health and the environment, and upholding human rights.

There are many tools available to help companies enhance their conflict minerals and responsible sourcing programs, including:

Why Proactive Responsible Mineral Sourcing Is Worth Its Weight in Gold

  • Reduced Reputational Risk: The free-flowing nature of information exchange today can quickly make an organization’s adverse event a global issue, severely compounding the damage to their reputation. A commitment to responsible sourcing beyond conflict minerals can mitigate potential reputational risk resulting from human rights violations in an organization’s supply chain.
  • Advance Preparation for Evolving Market Expectations: Companies are beginning to take a proactive approach to compliance, looking beyond their regulatory requirements to identify risks associated with sourcing minerals other than the 3TGs, and from conflict-affected areas outside the DRC. This ensures they can maintain market access as the regulatory landscape evolves.

The Broader Impact of Responsible Sourcing

Getting a clear view of the supply chain remains a challenge for companies, but many are voluntarily creating operational approaches beyond basic reporting in order to strengthen their responsible sourcing practices. By doing so, companies can manage their risks more efficiently; enhance their relations with investment partners, employees and surrounding communities; and improve their reputation.  

Companies that go above and beyond their regulatory requirements and adapt their operations to include a strong responsible sourcing program are better positioned to succeed in the long term, and contribute to a more stable and prosperous environment.

Download our eBook, The Conflict Mineral Handbook: Your Guide to Compliance in 2019, to learn more about responsible sourcing. To find out how Assent can help your company scale its programs to remain compliant in an evolving regulatory landscape, contact us at