Every bit of technology and modern convenience we find in our daily lives – from the internal parts of our coffee maker, or clock radio to the precious metals inside an electronic tablet, has a history. A history in the supply chain that leads each part to your home, from such varied and far off distances and circumstances, that if you knew the details, you might have made an entirely different decision.
But how can you ever know the story? How can you know whether the ingredients that make up your cell phone, for example, came from dangerous places around the world where people die over conflict minerals, or are the minerals are mined in unsustainable ways, or support regimes that are responsible for genocide?
We’ve talked about Corporate Social Responsibility before on Connect & Collaborate – but today’s program focuses on CSR in the electronics and technology field, something we all can relate to as consumers if not as corporations. Join Jan Mazotti and Kelly de la Torre for a conversation with Joe Verrengia, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Arrow, a global provider of electronics and solutions.
Verrengia explains that Arrow doesn’t actually make any particular products. Instead, they source parts to hundreds of thousands of manufacturers and other clients who make the products we purchase. As such, Arrow has an obligation to report the supply chain of the metals and rare earth minerals that make up each component.
They may come from places that are not friendly to the United States, or that are competitive to us. Or from countries where people have been subject to genocide,
“We have to make sure the money you spend isn’t going to support those regimes.” says Joe Verrengia.
Every sourcing detail must be reported to audit and accounting companies. Beyond that, Arrow maintains self-reporting efforts that examine sustainability efforts through a Global Reporting Initiative.
Recycling initiatives have their own complications. Much illegal electronics recycling is done in third world countries where young children break components apart with hammers, and melting the precious metals out of the components over open flame which is dangerous for both the environment and those children’s health.
The efforts to uncover the source of all these parts is not only to foster goodwill, but to save lives as well thwart evil regimes. In the end, we the consumers can rest assured that our desire for first world conveniences have not inflicted great cost in third world countries.
Arrow’s efforts are spread here in the U.S. as well – to supporting STEM curriculum and education and funding kits for Boy Scouts who want to earn science and technology merit badges, but can’t afford the materials for those projects. Involvement in these programs helps kids who are interested in STEM fields while they’re learning, getting them ready for the work force in the future.