Heard in the Channel: Motorola, AVX Expand Solutions for Hope

Program designed to promote extraction of “conflict free” tantalum from DRC gains steam

Motorola Solutions Inc. and AVX Corp. announced the expansion of their joint project to keep so-called conflict minerals out of their electronics supply chain. The companies’ Solutions for Hope platform was recently expanded to the Province of North Kivu, the area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where illegal armed groups are involved in the extraction of key minerals used in electronic components and other industries. Such minerals are called “conflict minerals” due to the cycles of violence their extraction is creating throughout the region.

The Solutions for Hope program allows tantalum from the DRC to be used in Motorola Solutions and AVX products without involving criminal groups, according to the companies. The “conflict-free” tantalum—derived from the mineral coltan, which is rich in supply in the DRC— is used to manufacture certain capacitors that enable electronic products.

Solutions for Hope was launched in July 2011 in the DRC’s Katanga province. For the first time in the region, it created a “closed-pipe” supply model that has proven effective, the companies say. The model uses a defined set of suppliers covering the mines, smelters, capacitor manufacturers (AVX) and end users (Motorola Solutions).

“AVX is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for conflict-free supply chains using innovative and reliable methods that preserve and protect human rights around the globe. AVX has been and will continue to be a corporate leader and partner to establish groundbreaking practices that set an example for other companies to reach the goal of a conflict-free supply chain without victimizing the innocent,” said Willing King, AVX deputy general manager - Tantalum.

“While the problem of conflict minerals cannot be solved by one company or a single industry, Solutions for Hope underscores Motorola Solutions’ commitment to responsible sourcing from the DRC. We have helped to create this supply line to demonstrate that the DRC can and should remain a viable source of conflict-free minerals. This tightly controlled supply line will validate conflict-free tantalum for these capacitors and support the conflict-free verification systems being implemented in the DRC,” said Rich Valin, chief procurement officer, Motorola Solutions.

Federal regulations require publicly traded companies to report their use of conflict minerals in producing their products beginning this spring. The requirements are part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in August 2012 with initial reporting required by May 31, 2014.

In other industry news:

  • Programmable oscillator manufacturer Cardinal Components announced it has achieved ISO 16949 certification; the ISO/TS 16949:2009, in conjunction with ISO 9001:2008, defines the quality management system requirements for the design, development, production, and distribution of automotive-related products.
  • Global catalog distributor Digi-Key Corp. launched new and improved online tools to help customers better access its more than 1 million in-stock products; an improved Bill of Materials (BOM) manager, a scheduled shipments feature, and shopping cart enhancements are among the improvements the company announced this month.
  • Digi-Key also announced a global distribution agreement with XP Power, a power-solution leader offering the widest range of power products available from one source.

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