The iTSCi Programme – assisting companies with due diligence and responsible sourcing of minerals from high risk areas
The iTSCi Programme is a joint industry membership programme designed to assist companies with traceability, due diligence and audit requirements on purchases of minerals from high risk areas as recommended in the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines and UN recommendations. Our activities are based around inclusivity and encouraging progressive improvement in the supply chain. The Programme aims to aid compliance with the US Dodd Frank Law, section 1502 on conflict minerals, in relation to the Rules published by the SEC but is not in itself a certification system. It also compliments other initiatives, including the CFSI's Conflict-Free Smelter audit programme (CFSP), the ICGLR's Regional Certification Initiative, and BGR's Certified Trading Chains Initiative (CTC).
The Programme establishes traceability in the upstream supply chain from mine to smelter, and downstream companies (product manufacturers etc) and assists companies to establish due diligence through independent audits and risk assessments. It currently has 250 provisional Full and Associate Members spanning 35 countries, and operates at around ~1000 mine sites in Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC, shipping 100's of tonnes of minerals per month, and involving ~80,000 miners, who in turn provide support for ~375,000 dependents.
iTSCi brings companies together to work constructively and efficiently through avoidance of duplication, correct management of extensive information and data, and cost savings throughout the supply chain. Although there are a range of different companies, from small cooperatives to large companies, we help all operators by ensuring that the minerals they supply and purchase have been managed and handled in line with international expectations. Involvement is not limited to large, multinational companies, but also extends to small and medium sized enterprises such as SME's and cooperatives.
As iTSCi is not directly involved with in-country activities, the US based capacity building NGO Pact Inc, and their selected local partners acting as the Programme Operators, are able to assist companies in operating areas of central Africa (particularly small and medium sized enterprises) with traceability and the implementation of due diligence.
The Programme's third party auditing company Synergy Global Consulting Ltd performs independent audits, comprising of preliminary audits, field governance assessments and company audits, which are carried out on a regular basis. Companies can use this information to regularly check on suppliers and customers and manage risks. Each year, all supply chain operators, mine sites and the iTSCi programme is audited by Synergy Global
Since its development in 2010, the iTSCi supply chain initiative has rapidly developed from a small pilot project to become the foundation of conflict-free 3T mineral trade across DRC, Rwanda and Burundi, which is where the Programme is currently operating. iTSCi is a voluntary private sector initiative, understanding the importance of global markets, and trade opportunities, working hand in hand with Government services and international (Pact) and local NGO's to deliver capacity building and improved governance. iTSCi is a practical mechanism developed to implement complex OECD due diligence expectations in an accessible and appropriate manner for the small businesses and artisanal miners of the African mining sector. This rule based trading environment instils confidence and assures credibility thus allowing conflict-free African minerals to access international markets at fair prices.
iTSCi has demonstrated the power of market incentive to create change in the most challenging areas of the world. Even small miner co-operatives in the remotest areas of central DRC have come to understand the importance of responsible trading in order to maintain their market and earnings. They are playing an integral part in this global mechanism of information collection and exchange which also integrates technology into activities of local communities and authorities. The knowledge that wayward actions of police and security forces create 'conflict minerals' unacceptable to the international market brings a new focus to local accountability and contributes to the objective of increasing stability and peace in the Great Lakes Region.
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iTSCi provides a whistleblowing mechanism which allows stakeholders to voice concerns, and supports member companies awareness of verified risks relevant to their supply chain here.