Microsoft Extends Ethical, Environmental Policies to Supply Chain
The Redmond, Wash., software giant tightens its supply chain policies to avoid conflict minerals and promote sustainability across the board.Microsoft has formalized its policies regarding how the tech giant sources materials for its hardware and packaging, announced Brian Tobey, the company's corporate vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Information Services. Characterized as a "natural evolution" of Microsoft's Supplier Social and Environmental Accountability program, the new policy, called "Microsoft's Responsible Sourcing of Raw Materials," aims to align its supplier network with the company's codes of conduct regarding environmental and ethical issues. "We are extending our positive influence to the furthest reaches of our upstream supply chain—all the way to harvested and extracted materials," stated Tobey in a blog post. In recent years, major technology companies have expanded on their efforts to minimize their environmental impact and purge their supply chains of raw materials from war zones. Used in the manufacture of electronic devices, these "conflict minerals" are mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo and often fund conflicts that have ravaged the region. Apple, under CEO Tim Cook's leadership, is striving to derive 100 percent of its power from renewable sources. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company, maker of the best-selling iPad tablet and popular iPhone, has pledged to remove conflict minerals from its supply chains.
Microsoft expects its suppliers to reflect the company's stance on sustainability and the ethical treatment of workers. "Throughout our supply chain, we are committed to empowering people to do their best while preserving and sustainably using resources and upholding human rights, safety and business ethics," said Tobey.