Updated on August 29, 2018
Sony has designed an internal due diligence framework to determine the country of origin and chain of custody for any high-risk minerals in its supply chain. This due diligence framework is designed to conform, in all material respects, to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD Guidance).
Sony has identified tantalum, tin, gold, tungsten and cobalt as the High-Risk Minerals for Sony. Further information on the four minerals of tantalum, tin, gold, and tungsten is available at "Responsible Sourcing of Raw Materials."
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 was co-sponsored by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (now the Responsible Business Alliance, or RBA) and the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI). In October 2017, CFSI and RRMI merged to become the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI).
Under the RMI, companies from many industries 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. Sony participates in the initiative.
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), the 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 requiring attention 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. Since 2017, these activities have continued through the transition to the RMI as the Indonesia TWG under the RMI. Some pilot projects have been launched already on the ground, including a land reclamation project as well as identification of occupational health and safety (OHS) best practices guidance for artisanal mining. Sony will continue to support these efforts by participating in the TWG.
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 child labor and working conditions at sites where it is extracted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country known to have the largest reserves 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 a high-risk mineral.
In fiscal 2016, Sony undertook assessments of 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 of its battery suppliers and battery parts suppliers. Sony assessed total 14 suppliers, including seven lithium-ion battery suppliers and seven suppliers that deliver battery parts that contain cobalt for its battery manufacturing business (the business was sold off on September 1, 2017). Five of these suppliers reported that the cobalt contained in the battery parts they delivered to Sony included cobalt sourced from the DRC. To further ensure compliance with the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct, Sony requested all 14 suppliers to ensure the compliance of their upstream suppliers.
In fiscal 2017, Sony worked with five regular battery suppliers to identify cobalt refiners in their supply chains and implemented surveys to verify compliance with the Sony Group Policy for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals. The surveys comprised on-site assessments by an outside assessment company and document assessments using the Cobalt Reporting Template developed by RMI. The results identified 15 cobalt refiners. Suppliers that were found to be non-compliant with the Sony Group Policy for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals were asked to make immediate changes to bring them into compliance. Sony will continue participating in the RMI to manage its cobalt supply chain and ensure that it procures cobalt produced in refiners that have been determined not to be contributing to conflicts or serious human rights violation.
Sony recognizes that multi-stakeholder collaboration is the key to identifying and mitigating the adverse human rights impact that can be associated with mineral extraction in high risk areas. Specifically, Sony continuously collaborates with various multi-stakeholder efforts such as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI) and the Responsible Material Initiative (RRMI) in order to participate in the development of the due diligence process and mitigate human rights risks in the supply chain. In fiscal 2017, to better understand the current situation of artisanal and small-scale mining in the DRC, Sony 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.