On November 15th, at an event held at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, HP formally joined the US State Department’s Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), a joint initiative between the U.S. government, private sector companies and trade associations from a range of industry sectors, non-governmental organizations, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), to support the development of responsible, transparent, and validated mineral trade to enable the sourcing of conflict free minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Government officials including Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Sharon Cromer attended the event along with foreign diplomats from Belgium, Burundi, DRC, France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. In addition to HP, representatives from leading Fortune 500 companies and NGOs were present including AMD, The Responsible Sourcing Network, Pact, RESOLVE, and the Enough! Project.
The PPA is part of ongoing U.S. efforts to work with the DRC and other governments in the region to break the linkages between the illicit minerals trade and ongoing violence and human rights abuses. The PPA seeks to leverage resources and promote harmonization of mine certification and traceability initiatives in the Great Lakes region to ensure that the illicit trade in minerals does not benefit rebel groups or abusive army units.
The PPA will focus on three key areas:
- Help grow existing programs and systems that will allow businesses to source minerals from mines that have been audited and certified as ‘conflict-free.’
- Provide a platform for coordination and dialogue amongst the government, industry and civil society actors seeking to support conflict-free minerals sourcing in the DRC and GLR.
- Support a website that will act as a resource for companies seeking the information necessary for them to source minerals in the DRC while remaining compliant with United States law.
HP’s participation in the Public-Private Alliance, as well as the “Solutions for Hope Project” and the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) are indicative of our belief that all relevant stakeholders – industry sectors that use these minerals, mineral refiners/processors, governments and NGOs – must become actively involved in order to create a viable certification mechanism for the minerals trade. We have also established internal policies that require members of our supply chain to conduct their worldwide operations in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.