On March 1st, 2016, the University of Edinburgh adopted a policy aimed at cutting conflict minerals from their supply chain. Edinburgh has become the first university in the UK to develop a program aimed at mitigating the risk of conflict minerals in their supply chain.
Universities and Supply Chain Transparency
Source Intelligence recently interviewed Liz Cooper, Research and Policy Manager, Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability for the University of Edinburgh to gain some more insight into the development of their conflict minerals program:
SI: As an industry practitioner, breaking the supply chain transparency trail for Universities all over the globe can be a challenging feat. Do you have any words of advice for universities or academic bodies looking to follow in your footsteps?
Liz Cooper: We are aware that several other universities are also looking at their approach to conflict minerals, so others may also be able to share their advice too. My main recommendation would be for us to work together to speak with the same voice, in order to call for as much action as possible to be taken to tackle conflict minerals in an appropriate way. It’s also really beneficial to communicate well about your activities – our announcement of our Conflict Minerals Policy gained a great detail of media coverage, which helps get the issue on the agenda, so we can continue to work on solutions collectively.
SI: What are some best practices you can speak to as far as supplier engagement and data gathering and validation go?
Liz Cooper: In terms of supplier engagement, we have found that the company staff members attending quarterly meetings (as standard with our procurement office) to discuss the contract and product/service do not tend to be the sustainability professionals. We therefore need to engage directly with CSR professionals in addition to these meetings, and build up relationships with them, in order to discuss progress and opportunities.