updated 06:45 pm EST, Thu February 2, 2012
Calls on others to improve supply source tracking
Nokia today published a policy document to explain publicly the steps it has taken in to prevent the illegal trade of natural resources in its supply chain. It hoped to assuage phone owners that the materials it was getting were both eco-friendly and socially responsible. The policy mostly reflects existing policy, but it emphasizes that Nokia bans itself and its suppliers from buying "conflict" minerals extracted through illegal and questionable means, such as in the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The terms bar any suppliers from making, shipping, or selling minerals in conditions that violate human rights. They likewise block any support, even indirect, to any army or mercenary group that tries to control or extort money from various parts of the supply chain. Bribery and corruption are also zero-tolerance issues, Nokia said.
The Finnish firm was aware that problems could exist as deep as four to eight layers down the supply chain and asked the higher-level companies to establish similar policies that would pass down to their own suppliers. Other companies and governments had to team on strategies to police the mining of conflict minerals, and to work on ways to track metals so that companies had to be more honest about where their materials came from.
Nokia isn't the first technology firm to take a strong position on conflict minerals. Last April, Apple and Intel jointly implemented an embargo on smelting operations in the same conflicted Congo region.