Our Supply chain
Any purchase of goods and services can generate economic, social or environmental impacts. We vigorously monitor and manage supply chain issues to mitigate adverse impacts. This is especially important because we do not manufacture any of the business service solutions or residential products we offer customers.
We work with a limited number of product manufacturers, some of which dominate the global market. Because of the proliferation of global sourcing and distribution in the business service solutions industry companies must be cognizant of potential human rights and environmental issues in their supply chains.
Bell’s centralized procurement organization controls the strategic sourcing of goods and services, enabling us to better maintain relationships with a variety of suppliers, including manufacturers, distributors, contractors and consultants.
Bell actively manages standardized supply chain performance tools such as a risk assessment, a corporate responsibility questionnaire for suppliers, and an audit process that includes provisions for corrective action and ongoing monitoring. We also consider sustainable criteria for our products and services, including energy consumption, recyclability, content value and environmental certifications as well as attributes related to human and labour rights, health and safety, and ethics principles.
Bell policies (see our Environmental Policy, for example) require that we seek out suppliers who demonstrate a strong commitment to corporate responsibility through the adoption of rigorous principles regarding the environment, health, safety, labour, and ethics.
All new Bell contracts bind suppliers to Bell’s Supplier Code of Conduct (implemented in 2007), clearly establishing the expectation that the supplier will take all reasonable measures to respect that Code in its own operations and within its own supply chain. Bell uses a detailed questionnaire to assess suppliers during the selection process and to improve the policies of existing suppliers. Combined, the Procurement Policy, the Supplier Code of Conduct and the questionnaire form the basis for evaluating suppliers.
Due diligence on products
Beyond the supplier approach to responsible business, we also address specific products through our expanding sustainable criteria program. Our Fibe TV receivers and modems qualify under ENERGY STAR, a voluntary government-business program that certifies that products meet a premium level of energy efficiency and are also covered by complementary social and environmental criteria.
Since 2011, we have strictly adhered to a set of sustainable criteria for mobile phones and components, including batteries, chargers and packaging. These address the use of toxic substances and conflict minerals, the recyclability of materials, identification of plastics, energy efficiency and the impact on our carbon footprint.
As of today, we have augmented our contract templates by adding sustainable criteria not only for mobile phones, modems and TV receivers, but also for SIM cards, laptop computers and mobile phone accessories. Sustainable packaging criteria are now included in all tangible goods contracts that we resell to customers or use internally.
Many electronic devices contain small amounts of metals – such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold – that are derived from minerals known under U.S. laws as conflict minerals because in certain cases they are mined in exploitative circumstances. Bell shares the concerns of many companies in the electronics and telecommunications industries that use conflict minerals that may directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries.
We consider as unacceptable the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals that fuel armed conflicts and lead to the abuse of human rights. Our policy and our practice are to make every appropriate effort to seek to ensure our suppliers source conflict minerals responsibly. Since 2005, Bell has been working with other telecommunications companies to develop an industry-wide approach to supply-chain issues, including conflict minerals, in conjunction with GeSI (the Global eSustainability Initiative) and the EICC (Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition) Implementation Group.
In 2011, we asked our major suppliers of electronic equipment to implement processes and control mechanisms to avoid the use of minerals that may directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the DRC or adjoining countries in the products they supply to Bell. Today, we continually engage with suppliers on this issue through the contract negotiation process.
We also continuously monitor developments related to conflict minerals through our membership in GeSI, which supports efforts to improve the transparency and traceability of minerals in the supply chain through the conflict-free smelter program set up by GeSI and the EICC Extractives Work Group.