IPC Joins European Partnership for Responsible Minerals

IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® today announced it has joined the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) as part of its continuing efforts to help IPC members navigate the complex challenge of responsible minerals sourcing.

The EPRM is a multi-stakeholder partnership aiming to break the links between minerals extraction, conflict, and human rights violations and to increase the proportion of responsibly produced minerals in war-torn regions such central Africa and Colombia. The organization builds partnerships and shares knowledge about due diligence regarding four minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold – which are used in many electronic components in key sectors such as automobiles, health care, ICT, aerospace and defense. The group is especially focused on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises with their due diligence requirements.

The EPRM is preparing to launch an initiative in November called “Due Diligence Ready,” through which companies will be able to access information, tools, and training materials to prepare for a new EU regulation that is coming into effect on January 1, 2021.

IPC has been involved in the conflict minerals dialogue for years, representing electronics manufacturers in meetings and negotiations with policymakers; developing standards and guidance to promote industry compliance; and participating in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as it developed international guidance. The IPC Conflict Minerals Data Exchange standard is currently undergoing revisions to incorporate the OECD’s guidance, with a revised version expected in early 2020.

“IPC and its members deplore the violence and human rights abuses that are related to minerals extraction in some parts of the world, and we want to be part of the solution,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government relations. “At the same time, we are opposed to heavy-handed regulations that impose undue burdens on our members with little or no results to show for their efforts. This is why we have put so much effort into IPC’s conflict minerals task group and our global industry standard, which are the best sources of guidance for electronics manufacturers. Our new membership in the EPRM will provide another helpful resource for our members, especially those who do a significant amount of business in Europe.”

“EPRM warmly welcomes IPC as a new EPRM member,” said Boukje Theeuwes, Chair of EPRM. “We are excited about the potential of IPC and its members to contribute to EPRM’s objective of increasing both the demand and supply of responsibly produced minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. We will join forces to increase knowledge and implementation of due diligence in international supply chains, and support companies in the journey of responsible mineral sourcing. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation with IPC and its member companies.”

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