In a move that is a first for a UK university, the University of Edinburgh has announced a new conflict mineral policy. The policy is designed to put pressure on suppliers to eradicate so-called conflict minerals from their supply chains.
The extraction of these materials – for use in cars, mobile phones and other consumer electronics – has perpetuated wars across Africa. By striving to use alternatives, the University of Edinburgh aims to show support for vulnerable communities ravaged by violence.
The new policy also applies to any minerals that have been used to fund conflict in any part of the world, building upon the University’s sustainable procurement strategy that seeks to create socially responsible supply chains.
As part of the policy, suppliers will be asked to report on their supply chains, the risks of conflict minerals being present in the goods they sell and the strategies they are taking to eradicate conflict minerals.
The University, which is currently running Fairtrade Fortnight, a series of events raising awareness of fair trade and sustainable procurement, will also link with research on conflict minerals, promote student engagement through learning and teaching, and raise awareness among staff and students.
Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability Dave Gorman said: “The University is committed to sustainable procurement, from the electronics that we buy in large amounts such as computers, down to individual purchases made by staff.
“This new policy gives us a framework within which to work with our suppliers to encourage transparency in supply chains, take action where conflict minerals exist, and advise on more suitable alternatives to support companies with good working practices and ultimately improve the lives of vulnerable communities.”
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