Through a company I have had some contacts with I learnt about the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), which recently rebranded itself “Responsible Business Alliance” or RBA (see article EICC becomes RBA). Starting in 2004 this coalition consists today of more than 110 electronics, retail, auto and toy companies. Only a few Swiss companies are among them. Member companies and their tier-one suppliers need to adhere to the RBA code of conduct.
It is interesting, that this code of conduct contains an explicit requirement for responsible sourcing of minerals. It does also require proper labor standards such as prohibition of child labor or freedom of coalition and thorough health & safety and environmental standards. In addition it contains a full set of “highest” standards of ethics. These ethics standards cover the full range of the conduct compliance universe: business integrity, anti-corruption & bribery programs, transparency, fair competition, whistleblower protection and privacy etc.
In its section “E. Management System” the code does provide for a full set of activities and system elements, from management accountability & responsibility to a process to identify, monitor and understand applicable laws, regulations and customer requirements, training, communication or proper documentation.
For compliance verification the RBA applies a specific assessment process for its members and the tier-one suppliers to the members and asks them to do a risk readiness assessment as well as a risk assessment in raw materials supply chains.
I deem the information, standards and tools this coalition does publish good guidance for a European or Swiss company that imports or processes raw materials, in particular minerals and metals. Even if it does not provide the full set of risk prevention, e.g. compliance with trade restrictions and prohibitions is missing, it allows for a comprehensive set of activities and instruments to assure compliance and the ethical standard.
© 2017 Christian Bärlocher