AVX announces conflict-free Tantalum Sourcing policies
News Release from:
23 August 2012
AVX has today announced that it is fully committed to the global effort to exclude tantalum sourced from any area in which insurgents or similar groups may benefit from the sale of minerals ("conflict minerals").
As part of its ongoing commitment to a conflict-free supply chain, AVX has been at the forefront of industry’s efforts in developing standards for the supply of tantalum from the mine to the ultimate customer and is an active participant in the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and the GLOBAL e-SUSTANABILITY INITIATIVE Conflict-Free Smelter program and the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Centre to avoid the use of tantalum ore which directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or adjoining countries and fully supports the position of the Electronic Components, Assemblies and Materials Association toward the same result.
Since December 1st, 2011, AVX has exclusively sourced the tantalum powder and wire used to manufacture its tantalum capacitors from smelters whose compliance with the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative Conflict-Free Smelter program has been verified. Now, the exclusive use of EICC/GeSI-validated smelters is expected to be the cornerstone of pending SEC regulations concerning the Dodd-Frank legislation, which industry analysts expect will be announced by August’s end.
“Employing only EICC/GeSI independently validated, conflict-free smelters, in addition to our own supply chain assessment activities has allowed us to assure our customers of our compliance with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, due diligence guidelines as well as with the provisions detailed in the Dodd-Frank law,” said Bill Millman, director of quality and technology for AVX’s tantalum division. “We also expect that the conflict-free tantalum policies that we already have in place will make us compliant with related and currently pending SEC regulations. Several other manufacturers are making efforts to attain validated compliance with these provisions; but, at present, AVX is the only company that meets these exacting standards.”
Additionally to our commitment to eliminate conflict materials from our supply chain AVX recognized that a de facto embargo of DRC and Central African ore would create widespread hardship for the locals whose livelihood depends on the mines.
Consequently in July 2011, AVX partnered with Motorola Solutions to establish the flagship Solutions for Hope closed-pipe pilot program. The Solutions for Hope program, which has since been strengthened by the support of other leading electronics firms, including HP and Intel, was designed to enable the DRC and its neighboring countries to return to the supply chain as validated conflict-free suppliers, to the benefit of the all the local peoples that depend on the mining industry.
The year-long program has demonstrated that verifiable conflict-free tantalum ore can be mined and shipped in a manner that is reliable, sustainable and expandable. This allows a third-party verified “closed pipe” supply route in the Democratic Republic of Congo using EICC/GeSI validated conflict-free smelters to become a trusted source of conflict-free minerals to the tantalum industry.
The closed pipe supply chain will enable AVX to have full traceability of its usage of DRC and other Central African material and the supporting chain of custody information to confirm the material is verified as conflict free to enable customers to meet the requirements of the Dodd-Frank legislation and the anticipated SEC disclosure requirements. As such, AVX will begin to incorporate independently audited, fully traceable, and verified conflict-free ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative “Bag and Tag” tantalum material, sourced through AVX-approved, closed-pipe supply routes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining Central African countries, into its general SMD tantalum capacitor products beginning January 1, 2013.
AVX will have full traceability of its usage of DRC and other Central African material and the supporting chain of custody information to confirm the material is verified as conflict free to enable customers to meet the requirements of the Dodd-Frank legislation and the anticipated SEC disclosure requirements.
This is a further step in AVX’s continuing effort to keep conflict minerals out of the supply chain without adversely affecting miners and their families in non-conflict areas and ensure our customers can comply with the anticipated requirements of the Dodd-Frank legislation.
It ensures that AVX remains at the forefront of the tantalum capacitor industry’s efforts to secure responsibly sourced materials that meet our customers’ requirements, the principles of the Dodd-Frank legislation and the OECD due diligence guidance on responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict affected areas with weak governance.
AVX is fully aware of the provisions of § 1502 relating to conflict minerals of the Dodd-Frank bill and is closely tracking the SEC’s implementing regulations. AVX usage of the other materials, such as tin, tungsten and gold, listed in the new legislation is very limited. AVX is working with its suppliers to ensure that no other conflict materials are in any of its products. Nonetheless, AVX is committed to meet or exceed all obligations with respect to those minerals as well.
Full details of the AVX Conflict-Free Materials policy are available here.