Panasonic’s Basic Stance on Responsible Minerals Procurement

Panasonic took a basic stance on conflict minerals in 2012 and reviewed it in April 2018, based on recent social trends with regards to responsible minerals procurement.

Panasonic recognizes that the procurement of certain minerals (notably tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold and cobalt) from states in conflict-affected areas and high-risk areas (hereinafter referred to as “target areas”) carries a risk of funding organizations that are involved in illegal or unethical activities, including human rights abuses such as child labor, harsh working conditions, environmental destruction and corruption. This is a matter of grave social concern and Panasonic promotes responsible procurement of minerals in its global supply chain in order to fulfill our corporate social responsibility.

At the same time, there are companies and individuals in the target areas who are conducting lawful business activities.
Therefore, while we remain mindful of our obligation to avoid using minerals associated with illegal or unethical practices, we strive to ensure that legitimate companies’ and individuals’ business activities and livelihoods are not compromised by such efforts.

To this end, it is necessary for us to work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, in various countries, including governments, industry associations, companies and NPOs that are taking measures to build sound minerals supply chains in the target areas.

Panasonic will keep conducting its activities based on the "Due Diligence Guidance" of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), and build management processes in line with global standards.

The promotion of responsible minerals procurement requires to conduct due diligence efforts in the entire supply chain, including through green certifications of upstream mining companies, smelters and refineries clean, and by disseminating information on smelters and refineries among downstream enterprises.

Panasonic requires all related suppliers to provide information on smelters/refineries through the supply chain, and aims to procure from suppliers who don’t present any issue.

Going forward, Panasonic will keep contributing to the international efforts towards responsible minerals procurement while actively considering our future role in such global efforts.

Responsible Minerals Procurement System

With the Chief Manufacturing Officer (CMO) assuming ultimate responsibility, we are working to build a Corporate-wide management system for responsible minerals procurement in collaboration with each Divisional Company.

Due Diligence Efforts

In order to fulfill our social responsibility, Panasonic promotes responsible minerals procurement throughout its entire supply chain while actively communicating its policies to all suppliers and collaborating with them.
Responsible surveys of conflict minerals require the cooperation of all suppliers and the refineries/smelters with which they work. In order to reduce the burden on suppliers and to enhance the efficiency of such surveys, we use common survey tools and explanatory materials. To this effect, Panasonic uses the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) and the Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT) issued by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). We also participate as a presenter to survey briefings held by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association’s (JEITA) Responsible Minerals Procurement Working Group, and actively use the common manuals and procedures shared between the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association (JAPIA).

Conflict Minerals Surveys

In fiscal 2020, the Panasonic Group as a whole surveyed around 3,600 suppliers on conflict materials and collected responses from 92% of them (as of the end of February 2020). Based on the data collected from the survey forms (CMRTs), we conducted a risk analysis and assessment and requested further investigations from suppliers, according to the risks that we identified.

The Panasonic Group identified a total of 328 smelters and refineries present in the supply chain of minerals used in our products. Among these, 82% have receive d the “Conformant Smelter” certification (which is delivered to smelters / refineries that pass RMI’s audit).

At present, we have not confirmed that any of the minerals that survey respondents have identified as being sourced from target countries have, either directly or indirectly, financed  any armed forces. However, we will continue to carefully examine and identify information from smelters and refineries.

Furthermore, through our industry activities, we have urged smelters and refineries to participate in the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) and our suppliers continue to perform due diligence processes. In the event that we identify minerals that contribute to fund conflicts, we will request our suppliers to take measures including changing their suppliers or eliminating the use of these minerals.

Cobalt Surveys

There are concerns about cobalt, which is used in lithium-ion batteries and other products, due to human rights issues such as child labor at mining sites.

As part of its efforts to promote responsible minerals procurement, Panasonic pursues initiatives in line with the OECD’s “Due Diligence Guidance” to build management processes that meet global standards. Specifically, we continually conduct initiatives such as cobalt supply chain surveys and identification and investigation of refineries and smelters.

In fiscal 2020, we have conducted a risk analysis and assessment based on the data from the survey form (CRTs) that we have collected from suppliers, and have requested further investigations from suppliers in response to those risks.

Panasonic will keep conducting appropriate cobalt surveys and procurement while watching industry trends.

Participation in the Forum on Implementing Due Diligence for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

Beginning in 2011, Panasonic has been participating in the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas projects (currently, the Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains). At the forum in November 2013, we learned about ongoing efforts toward conflict-free minerals procurement, including mines, exchanges and ore traceability systems as well as efforts to identify mines through analysis of mineral composition and generation in Rwanda. We attended the forums held in Paris in 2016 and 2017, and continued discussions with stakeholders in regard to effective approaches to addressing the issue of conflict minerals.

Industry Collaboration Initiatives

The collaboration of all suppliers in our supply chain is essential to promote responsible minerals procurement. For this reason, Panasonic is participating in JEITA’s Responsible Minerals Procurement Working Group to raise supply chain awareness and improve the efficiency of surveys through industry collaboration.

More specifically, we have been working with industry groups both inside and outside Japan and holding seminars and surveys briefing sessions to promote best practices regarding responsible minerals. We have also worked on smelters / refiners information scrutiny, and participated in the development of the U.S. data transfer standard IPC-1755 on conflict minerals. JEITA’s Responsible Minerals Procurement Working Group teamed up with Japanese automakers in November 2013 to create the “Conflict-Free Sourcing Working Group”, in order to engage in dialog with the smelting industry and accelerate efforts to verify information about smelters/refiners. Panasonic is also an active participant in this initiative.

Since January 2016, we have been working with other members of JEITA’s Responsible Minerals Procurement Working Group to obtain audit certification for smelters and refineries that have not yet participated in the RMAP, and we continued these efforts in 2019.

Furthermore, Panasonic joined the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) in July 2017, with the aim of learning the latest industry trends and promoting best practices regarding procurement activities. In 2018, we attended the RMI Annual Conference held in the US. In addition, Panasonic started participating in the RMI’s Cobalt Workgroup in 2018.

Going forward, Panasonic will continue to conduct responsible minerals surveys while monitoring industry trends.