Virtually all of GE’s products contain one or more of the minerals tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG). The mining and trade of these materials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries have gained international attention in recent years for the role that they can play as “conflict minerals,” financing deadly armed groups in the region. Because of this potential for association with conflict and human rights abuses, GE strives to ensure that our supply chains are ethical and sustainable, and that we are fulfilling our commitment to respect human rights through responsible sourcing practices.
As part of these efforts, GE has instituted a statement of principles on conflict minerals, and we have submitted a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on our due diligence program. We support industry-wide due diligence mechanisms that enable conflict-free sourcing in general, such as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, and responsible sourcing of minerals from the DRC in particular.
We recognize that conflict is just one of the risks related to mineral sourcing in the DRC, and that critical issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, child labor and gender inequality must be addressed as well. Done ethically, production of 3TG in the DRC presents a unique opportunity to contribute to peace and stabilization as well as to local economic development and poverty alleviation. Faced with this reality, we support local development in the DRC mining communities through engagement and philanthropy, including GE Foundation sponsorship of an influential study released in 2014 by the NGO Pact entitled “Breaking the Chain: Child Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
GE’s 2016 SEC Conflict Minerals Report can be found here.
GE’s 2015 SEC Conflict Minerals Report can be found here.