Risk

The Responsible Mica Initiative Gets Serious About Supply Chain Mapping [Interview]

Source: Reuters 2016

Source: Reuters 2016

Sourcemap’s mission is to map the world’s supply chains, and as part of that mission, we engage with leading practitioners of supply chain transparency to bring attention to their issues and approaches. We start this series with Fanny Fremont, Executive Director of the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI). RMI is a non-profit organization committed to establishing a fair, responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in India that will eliminate unacceptable working conditions and eradicate child labour by 2022. RMI currently has 55 members including companies like L’Oreal, Merck, Shiseido, Coty, BASF, LVMH, PPG and many more.

Mica has rightfully earned the nickname ‘nature’s glitter’ because it’s a natural mineral used to add sparkle to everything including paints, furniture, automobiles, plastic, electronics, and cosmetics, among others. Despite the mineral’s gleaming properties, the dark side of Mica begins at the source. As much as 25%(*) of the world’s mica is extracted from informal mines in India where working conditions are harsh and systemic problems endure, including child labor. Sourcemap’s Director of Business Development Juliette Barre sat down with Fanny to shine some light on the issues facing the mica supply chain.
 

JB: Can you tell me how the Responsible Mica Initiative came about?

FF: The RMI was officially created in January 2017, building on several existing individual initiatives regarding mica mining in India, with the ambition of aligning the efforts of all the stakeholders, building common standards and programs and scaling up impact from the mines to the end-users. The RMI uses a multi-stakeholder and holistic approach that engages companies, civil society organizations, industry associations, and governments to develop and implement three integrated program pillars that will establish responsible workplace standards, empower local communities and establish a legal framework for the mica sector. That’s to us the only way to leverage a positive impact on local communities, children and their environment, and to drive a long-lasting change.

JB: Issues around Mica aren't new, but lately we’ve been hearing more about them in the news. Why do you think that is?

FF: I guess it’s a combination of growing public awareness versus issues linked to mica sourcing and request for increased transparency; of development of hard and soft regulations focusing on respect of human rights within supply chains - including of minerals supply chains; and - I hope - of our efforts as Responsible Mica Initiative to raise awareness and federate different stakeholders around our mission and activities.

JB: Based on your experience and work with your members, what do you think are the three biggest challenges regarding Mica traceability at the moment?

FF: The 3 main challenges we are facing are (i) the mapping as a pre-requisite, (ii) the lack of clear legal framework regarding mica collection in India, and (iii) the cost. For mica-using industries like automotive or electronics, components using mica can be numerous and supply chains complex. Finding out who are the exact tiers 1, 2, 3… suppliers till the mica mines is already a challenge. Then, to date, feedback from the field indicated that no single mine in Jharkhand and in Bihar (India) can be considered legal, meaning with a valid government license. Based on this, our assumption is that it would be very complicated to have very upstream actors entering identification and volume information into a shared tool. And finally, mica is a low-value mineral in comparison to gold or even other minerals. Bearing the costs of new traceability technologies could represent a barrier to some actors if the ROI is unclear.

JB: What are the frameworks and/or best practices available to the private sector at the moment?

FF: Right after its creation in January 2017, the RMI started work to develop responsible workplace standards which provide a central resource for preventing child labor and improving overall working conditions at mica processors and mines in India. Workplace standards address five dimensions of operations at mines and processors: legal requirements, social obligations, Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) provisions, economic requirements, and environmental standards. To my knowledge, there is no other equivalent standard focusing on mica.

JB: What first step(s) should any company using mica start implementing?

FF: The first step would be to map their mica uses, and right after that, take action. Risks linked to mica sourcing and processing activities have already been identified and assessed, and there is an urgent need for action. We are talking about the worst forms of child labor and globally harsh working conditions. I would, of course, encourage joining forces with the Responsible Mica Initiative through active membership.

More information about RMI can be found at their website: https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/

For information about tracing mica in your supply chain, find out how Sourcemap can help: https://www.sourcemap.com/traceability-1

References:

(*) https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/the-mica-issue.html

https://www.somo.nl/beauty-and-a-beast/ 


 

Keep up with the new OECD guidance on Conflict Minerals with Sourcemap's Responsible Minerals Platform

Dodd-Frank conflict minerals disclosure ushered in supply chain transparency law, and now it's been superseded by the new EU requirements. What's changed? Transparency isn't enough: companies have to show that they perform due diligence on their extended conflict minerals supply chain, ensuring that risk is monitored and improvement plans are put in place. The best practice is to follow the OECD's guidance - something Sourcemap can do out-of-the-box. Download our free brochure and get in touch to implement best-in-class due diligence practices, for now and for the future. Click the link below:

Sourcemap Included in Spend Matters’ latest SolutionMap Analysis

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Sourcemap’s technology solutions are among those ranked in the Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 SolutionMap Analysis posted this week. This quarter marks the first time Sourcemap has participated in the SolutionMap. We are proud of how Spend Matters’ analysts rated our services, and we look forward to users having an impartial view of how Sourcemap matches-up against other providers.

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Spend Matters’ SolutionMap analysis is a comprehensive and highly detailed process. To participate, Sourcemap completed an extensive survey about our company, customer demographics, and solutions. Our customers submitted wide-reaching references to validate our performance.  The Sourcemap team also presented a 90-minute demonstration of our services and what they are able to achieve.

 “We set out to develop a more useful approach to ranking solution providers to reflect customer experiences, market developments and innovation. SolutionMap is the culmination of our efforts,” said Jason Busch, Founder of Spend Matters and Lead Solution Analyst.

 Through SolutionMap, procurement professionals are empowered with information to identify the best potential providers for their needs. Customizable “buying personas” allow users to search vendors based on criteria that match their procurement challenges.

 As a globally-recognized innovator in supply chain mapping, Sourcemap expects to stand-out among other providers. Our end-to-end supply chain traceability enables brands to manage risk and leverage opportunity, even in the sub-tiers of their supply chains. Sourcemap’s software can be quickly deployed without concerns about interoperability. And our service-oriented approach helps customers measure gains in sustainability and impact in raw materials that are impossible to manage in conventional systems.

 Our team is confident that through Spend Matters’ expert analysis, Sourcemap will find its way on many customers’ shortlists, and ultimately be selected as their provider of choice. 

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Global warming is expected to have widespread impact on agriculture and our ability to feed ourselves. But making sense of the risk is difficult: climate change will affectΩ regions in different ways, and combinations of temperature and precipitation will impact specific crops in ways that are sometimes counterintuitive. Combining data from the WRI and the Climate Change Knowledge Portal, our software is helping brands find out which issues are going to become relevant in the short term. Based on the industry, the product, and the region, those issues become benchmarks that help to prioritize action for maximum impact.

The image above shows two heat maps: anticipated climate and precipitation change by 2100. As an example, some parts of the continental US can expect warming of 5°C (9°F), and others can expect 200mm (8") more annual rainfall by 2100. The data from the layers visible above is combined with industry-specific water risks, groundwater health, and other issues (including protected areas) to derive an overall risk for specific farms and for brands as a whole.  Want to learn more? Click below for a demo:

Emerging networking and collaboration tools transform real-time data from global suppliers into vivid, multitier supply chain maps.

The devastating tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident that rocked Japan in 2011 brought the complexity and vulnerability of global supply chains into sharp relief. Across the globe, the automobile, electronics, chemical, and retail sectors, among many others dependent on Japanese output, were faced with unprecedented disruption of their supply chains.

At the time, few of the affected organizations had sufficient visibility into their supply chains to plan for, or respond effectively to, a disruption of this magnitude. “Global companies can have hundreds of thousands of suppliers,” says Leonardo Bonanni, Ph.D., CEO of Sourcemap, a provider of web-based supply chain visualization solutions. “Yet most cannot interact with these suppliers in real time.”

Read the full article here