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On May 23rd 2018, Ms. Sarah Albert, CSER manager at Flex, and Mr. Joerg Seeger, a CSER Flex intern, were invited to speak at the DHSS Lecture Series. They brought a team of four Flex employees to the talk.

Ms. Albert and Mr. Seeger presented the UIC community with information regarding the minerals used to produce our electronics, such as digital cameras and smartphones and exposed some of the harsh conditions under which some of these minerals are sourced, namely in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding African countries in the Great Lakes Region, where numerous conflicts and humanitarian crises are still taking place.

They also covered the regulations that have been put in place to increase ethical sourcing – such as OECD Guidelines or the Dodd-Frank Act, adopted in the United States in 2010 - which serve to deter the sourcing of conflict minerals through increased transparency and due diligence along companies’ supply chains.

Ms. Albert also concretely explained how Flex, a Fortune 500 company and leader in the electronics manufacturing sector worldwide, handles its compliance to international ethical sourcing schemes.

During a Q&A session, students asked various questions concerning, for instance, existing monitoring practices or the very definition of conflict minerals.

Dr. Edoardo Monaco, Government and International Relations Programme Director, closed the lecture by posing two questions to students in the audience to think about, the first being if they care where the minerals in their phones come from, and the second being, would they be willing to pay higher prices for products if that ensured that companies employ sustainable practices throughout their whole supply chains?

 

 Photographer: WANG Haochen (Y1, GIR)