Updated on October 30, 2017
Given the global nature of its suppliers, Sony has led the industry by introducing its own global standards for management of certain chemical substances contained in products or parts, called Management Regulations for Environment-related Substances to be Controlled which are Included in Parts and Materials (SS-00259). To implement this standard, Sony has established the Green Partner Environmental Quality Approval Program for supplier qualification. Only suppliers that comply with Sony's standards for management of chemical substances qualify for certification as "Green Partners." By procuring parts and products only from certified suppliers, Sony realizes consistent chemical substance management globally.
The recent escalation of climate change issues has prompted corporations to broaden the scope of efforts to ascertain the greenhouse gas emissions not just of their own operations but also those throughout their entire value chain*. Sony determines the greenhouse gas emissions of its major component suppliers and OEM suppliers, and uses these figures to estimate greenhouse gas emissions over the entire value chain.
The Responsible Raw Materials Initiative (RRMI) was launched in November 2016 to acknowledge the growing importance of responsible material procurement in global supply chains. The initiative is co-sponsored by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI). Sony has joined the multi-industry initiatives of RRMI, which seek to assess the environmental and social impacts of the extraction and processing of raw materials in supply chains, and then work toward shared targets that mitigate these impacts. Twenty companies including Sony Corporation initially pledged their support for RRMI, and a kick-off meeting was held in January 2017. The priority areas of RRMI include labor and environmental risks related to tin mining in Indonesia, and child labor risks related to cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In October 2017, CFSI and RRMI merged as RMI which succeeds the initiatives of RRMI. EICC has been rebranded to Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) as of October 2017.
Reports of unsafe working conditions and environmental concerns in Indonesia's tin industry are concerning and are a major factor why Sony has been one of the members in the Tin Working Group (TWG).
The goal of the TWG is to positively contribute to addressing the sustainability challenges of tin mining and smelting in Indonesia, while recognizing the economic benefits of the sector in terms of poverty reduction.
Members of the TWG include global tin users (downstream and midstream industry), Responsible Business Alliance(RBA), the international environmental NGO Friends of the Earth, and the global tin trade association ITRI. The TWG works with local partners from the Indonesian tin industry and the Indonesian government both centrally as well as from Bangka and Belitung.
The TWG started its work in 2013, with a situational analysis conducted to better understand the issues to be addressed in the tin mining industry in Indonesia. In 2014, the TWG started working closely with key local industry players to address issues via multi-stakeholder dialogue. In 2017, these activities were taken over by the tin sub-team of the RMI. Sony will continue to support these efforts by participating in the TWG.
Cobalt is an important mineral used in lithium-ion batteries for smart phones and other electronic products. There have been concerns about the prevalence of child labor and working conditions at its extraction sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where it is known to have the largest reserve of cobalt in the world.
Sony pledges its strong commitment to ethical business conduct and respect for human rights in the Sony Group Code of Conduct, which sets forth such core values and establishes basic policies including the prohibitions of using any form of forced labor, and specifically, child labor. Sony also expects all of its suppliers to adhere to the same standards, and established the "Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct". All the suppliers are requested to fully comprehend and comply with the Code, which is also integrated into supplier contracts. Furthermore, following the Sony Group Policy for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals established in October 2017, Sony has identified cobalt as one of the High-Risk Minerals.
In the fiscal year 2016, Sony undertook assessments for adherence to the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct as well as investigation to confirm the chain of custody with respect to the cobalt supply chain across all its battery suppliers and battery parts suppliers. Sony assessed total 14 suppliers, including seven lithium-ion battery suppliers and seven suppliers that deliver cobalt contained battery parts for its battery manufacturing business. As a result, five suppliers have reported that the cobalt contained in the battery parts they delivered to Sony include the ones that are sourced from the DRC. To further ensure the compliance with the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct, Sony also requested the above 14 suppliers to ensure the conformance of its upstream suppliers.
In order to identify as well as mitigate the adverse human rights impact associated with mineral extraction in high risk areas, we believe that multi-stakeholder collaboration is necessary. Sony has engaged in various multi-stakeholder collaborations such as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI) and Responsible Raw Material Initiative (RRMI) to participate in the development of the due diligence process and mitigate human rights risks in the supply chain. Also, to better understand the current situation of artisanal and small-scale mining in the DRC, Sony has supported an independent academic research project conducted by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at the University of Berkeley together with several other companies. The research aims to provide rigorous empirical data on households engaged in artisanal mining, and it involves collecting survey data from households, children, village leaders, and local mineral traders in 150 communities that are representative and cover the full geographical extent of the DRC Copper Belt. The project will be a baseline for further actions to support in collaboration with the DRC government and other stakeholders.
Sony recognizes that paper resources are limited and strives to reduce the amount of office paper used at sites and limit the number of pages in its product manuals.
Sony also recognizes the impact of illegal logging on biodiversity and considers it important to ensure responsible procurement of lumber and paper products. Sony takes environmental conservation into consideration when purchasing paper materials by adhering to the Sony Group Paper/Printed Material Purchasing Policy.
Sony sources paper from forests certified as responsibly managed and works not only to ensure that the paper it purchases has been produced from forests that are managed in accordance with legal requirements but also to promote the use of paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which audits forests based on a range of criteria, including sustainability and uses FSC-certified paper in its corporate printed materials, calendars and business cards.