BlackBerry is committed to ensuring that the management of our supply chain activities is socially and environmentally responsible.
As a multinational company we recognize that our supply chain operations reach many parts of the globe and a diverse range of communities, each with their own culture and business norms. As a responsible organization, we also recognize that there are certain standards of employment and environmental performance that must be respected wherever we operate or have business relationships. These standards are encapsulated in our Supplier Code of Conduct, which was published in 2011. Supplier compliance with the BlackBerry Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsible Minerals Policy is an expectation for doing business and is fundamental to our supplier engagement activities. BlackBerry continues to be an active participant in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).
Supply chain social responsibility implementation
BlackBerry uses a risk-based approach for monitoring supplier conformance to our Supplier Code of Conduct. In fiscal 2012, BlackBerry established an enhanced process for evaluating supplier social and environmental responsibility (SER) risk and prioritizing suppliers for assessments. The first step is a high-level risk assessment based on such factors as supplier location, commodity, relationship and history. The high-level risk assessment intended to be conducted annually on our identified supplier list. The output of this assessment is a prioritized list of suppliers, who will be required to complete detailed self-assessments. BlackBerry intends to use the EICC-ON system to gather this information. BlackBerry supports a common industry solution to supplier SER management and is actively engaged in the continued development of the system through work with EICC. BlackBerry has formalized a process for reviewing the supplier self-assessments and plans to use the results as an input to BlackBerry’s SER audit schedule.
Prioritized suppliers are audited against BlackBerry’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which is based on the EICC Code of Conduct, and comprises the areas of labor, ethics, environment and health and safety. For this purpose, BlackBerry uses an independent, EICC-approved audit firm. Auditors conduct onsite facility audits using a comprehensive checklist. While the majority of the audits are pre-announced, BlackBerry may conduct unannounced audits where conditions at the supplier cannot be properly verified with a pre-announced audit. Non-conformances with BlackBerry’s Supplier Code of Conduct are rated as zero tolerance, major, moderate or minor. Suppliers are required to submit their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs), including both corrective as well as preventive actions, which are to be implemented by the suppliers within prescribed timelines. BlackBerry reviews the CAPs, provides feedback, continues to monitor progress and conducts follow-up audits. In fiscal 2012, BlackBerry conducted a total of 63 audits, comprising 57 initial audits and six follow-up audits, surpassing an initial target of 50 audits for the year by 26%. The audits covered approximately 30% of our total supply base for direct materials and products, including the facilities of several major contract manufacturers as well as higher-risk component suppliers across geographic locations in China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Hungary and Slovakia.
Aggregated audit results are analyzed to identify key trends and supplier development needs. The analysis we have carried out indicates that working hours, wages, emergency preparedness, management of hazardous waste, and whistle-blowing mechanisms are key areas on which to focus. These findings are typical for the industry, and we look to identify root causes. For example, in the case of excessive working hours, this can be influenced by demand fluctuations, and relatively low legal limits for monthly overtime in some countries.
We use the trend data when designing and implementing supplier development and performance improvement initiatives, and in determining training needs. Audit experiences are also used to make enhancements to our SER audit program.
Freely chosen employment in our supply chains
BlackBerry supports the principle of freely chosen employment and does not support the use of slave labor in any of its forms, including forced labor and child labor.
Building capacity through training
Like many other companies in our sector, we conduct on-site audits to check that our suppliers are complying with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We also recognize that auditing is only one of a number of tools that can be used to help drive improvements in supply chain performance. We are interested in developing additional sustainable solutions and in this respect BlackBerry is a co-leader of the EICC/GeSI Learning & Capability Work Group. During 2011 the group developed and launched supply chain training programs focused on health and safety in the workplace and worker-management communications, including sessions hosted by BlackBerry suppliers.
Supply chain carbon reporting
BlackBerry is participating in the EICC’s carbon reporting system. Through this system we will survey many of our direct suppliers of materials, which will give us insight into the carbon emissions associated with BlackBerry’s supply chain. It will help us to identify areas for improvement and opportunities to work with suppliers on projects to reduce carbon emissions. It will also help to raise awareness within our supply chain of the impact of carbon emissions on the environment and the benefits that can be gained through reduction programs.
It is widely recognised that control over the valuable raw material resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries has contributed to armed conflict and serious cases of human rights abuses in the region. BlackBerry does not support the use of minerals that are illegally mined, transported or traded, nor metals derived from such minerals, including gold, tantalum (columbite-tantalite), tin (cassiterite) and tungsten (wolframite). In January 2012, BlackBerry published a Responsible Minerals Policy to clearly state our position.
BlackBerry is an active member of the EICC-GeSI Extractives Work Group. This group aims to develop practical traceability solutions that companies may adopt to help ensure that they are not using minerals sourced from conflict mines. A major development has been the launch of a Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) program, which aims to identify smelters and refiners that can verify they are not dealing with minerals sourced from conflict mines in the DRC and surrounding countries.
EICC – GeSI Extractives Work Group 2012 goals
- Institutionalize the CFS Program.
- Develop a common industry approach to support the disclosure and due diligence expectations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations; consider other models as they are developed.
- Support the implementation of a verifiable traceability scheme for the DRC and neighboring countries for conflict-free minerals.
- Begin development and implementation of a self-sustaining, multi-industry Conflict-free Mineral Supply Chain program.
- Build and maintain strong relationships and increase transparency and efficiency to enhance credibility in the Extractives Work Group activities.
Supply chain conflict minerals due diligence
BlackBerry is an active participant in the piloting of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. We launched our program in early 2012 with a request sent to more than 170 direct suppliers of materials to provide information regarding their minerals sourcing practices. The results will enable us to have a greater understanding about the sourcing practices of our suppliers.
Through our work with EICC and GeSI, as summarized above, BlackBerry is an active supporter of the CFS Program. BlackBerry recognizes supplier sourcing from smelters validated as CFS compliant as one verifiable means to help demonstrate responsible minerals sourcing and compliance with the BlackBerry Responsible Minerals Policy.
- Learn about the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade
In 2011 the US State Department launched the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. This is a joint initiative between governments, companies and civil society to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the DRC and the Great Lakes region of Africa. BlackBerry has joined this initiative, which aims to help the governments of the DRC and other countries in the region break the link between the illicit minerals trade and ongoing violence and human rights abuses.
Solutions for Hope
In fiscal 2012, BlackBerry joined the Solutions for Hope project which aims to create a process to deliver conflict-free tantalum material from the DRC in accordance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. The process is based on a "closed pipe" principle in which tantalite ore mined from specific sites within the DRC is traced along its secure supply chain to the smelter. The smelter, who is a participant in the CFS Program, converts the ore to capacitor grade powder and wire that is then shipped to AVX Corporation, who in turn manufactures the capacitors and ships them to participating customers, including BlackBerry. Not only does this program help to ensure that tantalum used in our products comes from verifiably conflict-free sources, but it also provides hope to the small artisanal miners and communities who rely on this work to support themselves and their families.
Launched in the U.S. and Canada in fiscal 2012, the BlackBerry Supplier Diversity Program works to create mutually beneficial business relationships with diverse suppliers that strengthen communities. The goal is to provide opportunities to diverse suppliers who satisfy purchasing and contractual standards. Diverse businesses include small businesses, businesses owned by veterans, minorities or women, and those in historically underutilized business zones. Sourcing areas of the corporation are encouraged to identify and include diverse suppliers and consultants in the procurement process.
About the BlackBerry Supplier Diversity Program
BlackBerry's Supplier Diversity Program aims to achieve corporate diversity goals while enabling growth in the communities in which we operate by providing opportunities for qualified small, diverse and women-owned businesses. We strive to create vendor–buyer relationships that allow diverse organizations to continue to develop, while offering quality products at competitive prices.
Included in our program are:
- Minority-owned businesses certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council in the U.S. and by the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council in Canada
- Women Business Enterprises certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council in the U.S.and by WeConnect in Canada
- Small Businesses certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Veteran-Owned and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned businesses certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone businesses certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration
Our objectives include:
- Actively seeking out certified diverse suppliers that can provide competitive, high-quality goods and services with business models that align with our business strategy.
- Seeking the inclusion of diverse suppliers as a part of our strategic sourcing and procurement process.
- Communicating the value of supplier diversity both internally and externally to stakeholders.
- Leveraging our supplier diversity results to help meet the supplier diversity expectations of our customers.
Project managers, commodity managers, buyers and contractors are encouraged to attend diverse supplier trade fairs and expositions to identify and establish business relationships. BlackBerry endeavours to meet with diverse businesses at procurement conferences in order to explain purchasing processes and expectations and to communicate our needs for products and services.
BlackBerry offers a mentoring program where employees have the opportunity to provide assistance to diverse suppliers in the areas of business planning, product/service pricing, financial planning, marketing, technical knowledge, brochures, the bidding process, paperwork simplification and workflow. We also encourage some of our largest suppliers to mentor diverse suppliers.
Supplier diversity affiliations
BlackBerry is committed to growing our diverse supplier network through partnerships with the following organizations and other local diversity councils:
- U.S. Small Business Adminstration (SBA)
- National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
- Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
- Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC)
- Women-Owned Enterprise Connect, CA (WeConnect - Canada)
We also participate in various regional chapters of the councils listed above.