International tin industry organisation ITRI has launched a Responsible Tin Supply group aimed at achieving a credible, responsible and more coordinated supply chain for tin. The group will bring together stakeholders from all tiers of the supply chain including tin traders and users from the solders, tinplate and tin chemicals industries and those companies further downstream. Chaired by an external industry expert it will provide an opportunity to exchange information and promote discussion aimed at developing and implementing joint actions for progressive improvements.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials including tin is now a high profile issue being debated and promoted at the highest level of government and in company policies. More information is being sought on whether commodities are being sourced from socially and environmentally positive origins, with some existing issues around tin exacerbated by misinformation and exposés of supply to high profile end users. Legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Act generates multiple surveys, checks and audits, also providing challenges to industry resources.
ITRI has already pioneered the successful iTSCi due diligence programme in Central Africa, helping the tin industry avoid conflict financing and human rights abuses, and has also developed an industry Code of Conduct specifically designed for global tin production. The new RTS group will learn from these experiences and expand work to tackle new challenges for tin supply, including from Indonesia and Myanmar, as well as expectations for extended supplier risk management included in the new EU regulation on import of tin, alloys and chemicals.
The group will be chaired by industry expert David Crimp, who has spent most of his career purchasing and supplying tin for the Cookson group, subsequently MacDermid Performance Solutions, including Alpha Metals division, the world’s largest supplier of solder. “An industry co-ordinated approach will be most effective in providing solutions”, David said, “having been directly involved with electronics and automotive sector issues relating to the responsible and sustainable sourcing of tin for many years, I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead the Responsible Tin Supply group in making a very significant step forward for the whole industry”
The new initiative will enhance information exchange and understanding between upstream and downstream tin sectors and allow early identification of emerging issues of key importance to stable and responsible tin supply. Working together, the stakeholders will be able to clarify priorities and strategies for managing and resolving supply chain risks, including perceived risks of tin use to downstream company reputation. Streamlined reporting and auditing for tin producers, their suppliers and traders will also be an objective, as well as development of means for consumers to incentivise tin suppliers to adopt best practices.