Suppliers who embrace environmental compliance and governance
As part of our Environmental Management System, we develop and publish detailed guidelines for our suppliers. The headline requirements are that all our contract manufacturers must hold ISO 14001 certification. Suppliers of components, materials, and parts are highly recommended to be ISO 14001 certified. Fabless companies should maintain an environmental management system and request that their production partners be ISO 14001 certified.
Much of our environmental footprint comes from manufacturing our products. To minimize this, as a fabless company, we must work closely with our supplier partners to control air emissions, waste management and recycling, and water management. Each of our suppliers has policies and strategies to deal with these very important issues, and u‑blox monitors its operations closely. In addition, we cooperate exclusively with top-tier manufacturers in our industry with leading environmental compliance and governance systems in place.
Our commitment and approach to responsible mineral sourcing
Due to a long history of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where mining profits have been used to finance violence and wars in the region, the minerals cassiterite, columbite, tantalite, wolframite (and their derivatives Tin, Tantalum, and Tungsten), and gold have been designated internationally as ‘conflict minerals.’
We aim to use 100% conflict-free minerals to produce conflict-free products. Our focus is to create products in ways that do not harm individuals, communities, or the environment and that all minerals and other materials are sustainably and responsibly procured. To this extent, u-blox is striving to ethically source minerals from responsible Suppliers to ensure its supply chain does not contribute to any human rights abuses around the globe nor to finance armed groups, directly or indirectly.
u-blox uses the RMI Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT), respectively Conflict Mineral Reporting Template (CMRT), relies upon the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) smelter database and Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry (RCOI) information and implements a due diligence process in accordance with the five-step framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
In 2020, we set a goal to gain in-depth insight into our supply chain to improve supplier engagement, learn more about their practices, prioritize resources, and thereby increase our opportunity to maximize impact.
As a responsible business, it is imperative that our work does not contribute to any conflict, anywhere in the world, through the use of conflict minerals. That is why our supplier selection process addresses these concerns.
u‑blox suppliers, including contractors and external manufacturers, are aware of their obligations towards responsible minerals sourcing through our Supplier Code of Conduct. Accordingly, they are requested to have a policy to reasonably assure that the minerals they source are conflict-free. They are also expected to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of these minerals and make their due diligence measures available to u‑blox upon request.
Supplier risk assessment and segmentation
We began in 2020 by working with an external ESG consultancy with extensive experience in Responsible Supply Chain Management (RSCM) to analyze our tier‑1 suppliers in 10+ countries by aligning our pre-risk assessment supplier and sourcing data (company-specific leverage) with their proprietary segmentation approach.
u-blox’s ‘leverage’ data (spend, supplier location, duration of relationship) was then combined with their industry-leading proprietary data engine for risk categories and supply chain geography to identify key supply chain risks.
Extensive desk research on five rather than one onsite audit
Rather than conducting one onsite audit, as was set as an ESG goal in 2022, we decided to ask our ESG consultancy to conduct extensive desk research on five suppliers’ approaches to responsible supply chain management as a complementary element to the risk data completed in 2021.
Addressing Supplier risks
Based on the assessment data and additional desk research, three suppliers were identified in early 2022, with some risk. Meanwhile, we have adapted our Supplier Code of Conduct and are currently communicating and collaborating with all of our suppliers to identify and address any gap relating to our Supplier Code of Conduct and the risks identified through the desk research.
90% of our modules and 100% of our chipsets produced in low risk (based on RBA topics) countries
Today, 90% of our modules and 100% of our chipsets are manufactured in low risk countries at locations committed to the supplier code of conduct based on the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) practices. In 2020, we set a goal to gain in-depth insight into our supply chain to improve supplier engagement, learn more about their practices, prioritize resources, and thereby increase our opportunity to maximize impact.