We strongly believe that ITSCI plays a credible and valuable role in responsible sourcing of 3T minerals through our joint-industry due diligence programme. We welcome constructive feedback and evidence of risks as we recognise that no system can prevent all illegal or fraudulent behaviour. However, while we take time to review the detail, we note initial concern regarding lack of balance and evidence in the Global Witness report, and disappointment that significant and meaningful progress within the 3T mineral sector does not appear to have been fairly recognised.
ITSCI operates on the ground in conflict affected and high risk areas (CAHRAs) with the objective to continually identify and report risks and support their mitigation, including through extensive engagement with stakeholders. This is achieved transparently according to standards aligned with the OECD’s internationally agreed framework for supply chain due diligence for responsible supply chains in CAHRAs. The type of risks considered by Global Witness are not only expected by the OECD guidance and by ITSCI, but are present in our normal day-to-day activities, and for which we have controls in place in our management systems.
ITSCI benefits from multiple information sources, including a large field team supplementing government monitoring, an active whistle-blowing mechanism for reporting, regular contact with stakeholders in mining areas, and data systems – all of which assist us to identify potential fraud or other illegal behaviour. ITSCI does not tolerate deliberate misuse of the ITSCI system, laundering of smuggled minerals or other illegal activity and we refute any such allegation entirely. In 2021, ITSCI recorded and encouraged the resolution of 1300 incidents on risks Global Witness appears to allege that ITSCI ignores. ITSCI provided extensive input to Global Witness in late 2021, and we are analysing the final report to ascertain if this has been reasonably reflected.
ITSCI’s work in CAHRAs is extremely challenging yet we have successfully contributed to the understanding and uptake of responsible sourcing standards, creation of extensive and credible information sources, formalisation of mining and supply chains, and transparency. ITSCI provides extensive information to members, governments, local actors, advisory panel and other stakeholders, much of which is also published. ITSCI is proud of our unique and continuing achievements which also help to support local development of mining communities.
There have been many lessons learned during the implementation of ITSCI and improvements in our systems will continue, making best use of available resources. We believe that our implementation has led to significant and tangible progress on the ground and we remain committed to our work supporting responsible sourcing for a better future.
Further comment on the Global Witness report will be available once we have had the opportunity review in full.
For more information, please contact:
Roper Cleland, ITSCI Programme Manager, [email protected]