Courtesy: Oxfam

International non-profit organisation IMPACT and technology company Consensas have announced a partnership on a solution for companies to source minerals from conflict and high-risk areas while compensating women and men in local artisanal mining communities for supply chain transparency.

Working together, IMPACT and Consensas are providing a unique solution to challenges companies face when sourcing minerals from conflict and high-risk areas, which includes poor internet, inadequate or missing data, or out-of-date information.

“Worldwide, companies face increasing pressure from governments, media, and importantly—their consumers—to know where their minerals come from and to address possible risks in their supply chain, such as conflict financing, corruption and human rights abuses,” comments IMPACT executive director Joanne Lebert.

“We’re excited to combine our expertise in natural resource governance, mineral supply chains, development, human rights, and monitoring and evaluation with Consensas’ technology.

“Together, we can encourage both responsible sourcing and provide a sustainable solution adapted to the artisanal mining communities we work with,” adds Lebert.

Technology solutions need to reflect the realities of conflict and high-risk areas. The solution takes into account the needs of artisanal miners, communities, and governments.

The platform has been designed to incentivise every actor in the supply chain to participate by assigning data ownership, autonomy, and recognition, as well as compensating local actors for the value of the data they share with companies.

It is a multilingual, inexpensive and scalable technology platform to cryptographically preserve and manage information.

Through data harmonisation, real-time insights and alerts, it significantly reduces the burden of regulatory compliance and reporting for companies.

The platform takes the best from blockchain and tailors it to be uniquely adapted for small-scale actors, including artisanal mining communities, and in complex environments.

The platform is fully functional and secure offline, low cost, and provides multiple automated and manual methods to verify its data’s accuracy.

The platform is unique in its ability to collect gender-disaggregated impact data, in addition to traceability and due diligence information.

This allows companies to accurately report on security and development at the community level, address unintended consequences, while promoting positive impacts.

“As a technology company, partnering with an international non-profit has been invaluable. IMPACT’s strong presence on-the-ground in Democratic Republic of Congo is allowing us to build this platform with real-time, meaningful data,” notes CEO of Consensas Ryan Taylor.

“Creating our solution from the ground up ensures our technology works well for companies, and equally important, works well for mining communities.

“It’s clear that companies can’t avoid sourcing in challenging environments, such as mining cobalt in Congo.

“As the market for consumer electronics and electric cars grows, the demand for cobalt increases.

“With over 50% of cobalt in Congo, companies need the right tools to source responsibly, identify risks, and understand the impact of their sourcing.

“We provide comprehensive traceability, due diligence, and impact data—and the confidence that it’s accurate, up-to-date, and secure,” adds Taylor.

The Consensas platform is being implemented as part of IMPACT’s Just Gold project, the first to successfully make traceable, legal, and conflict-free artisanal gold from Democratic Republic of Congo available to international markets.

IMPACT and Consensas are testing the applicability of the solution for other conflict-prone minerals such as cobalt, sapphires, or diamonds, as well as other natural resources in areas where security and human rights are at risk