No Audit Does Not Equal Noncompliance

Three quick thoughts on today’s news that the world’s electronics OEMs haven’t been able to eradicate conflict minerals from their supply chains.

1. Given that OEMs have a tough time discerning where, exactly, materials came from, how is it that a third-party is so certain it knows how that supply chain is supposed to look?

2. Given the third-party’s judging criteria covered traceability and auditing, and not actual supply,we should not assume that the OEMs under review even use conflict minerals in the first place. Indeed, the Congo supplies a very small percentage of most the industry’s raw materials. Media reports on the unpublished study are not clear on either point.

3. Did anyone really think they could change a supply chain overnight?

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

3 thoughts on “No Audit Does Not Equal Noncompliance

  1. The article in question… ultimately said .. nothing (except the obvious).
    – more needs to be done in tracking conflict materials
    – the industry is trying to do the right thing
    – it will take time


    but I guess the article helped fill space in the “Globe and Mail”….
    and “pcb update”.

  2. @John: Agreed. I’m not certain the mainstream press understands the nuances of the conflict minerals issue, let alone picked up on the fact that the study wasn’t an assessment of whether companies were using said minerals.

  3. Pingback: Conflating a Conflict at Circuits Assembly blog

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