Conflict minerals

The University of Edinburgh was the first higher education institution in the UK adopt a formal conflict minerals policy.

What can I do?

University staff who want to purchase electronics goods should consider the risk that their purchases might contain conflict minerals.

  • Purchase goods via a centrally approved channel or supply contract. Check SciQuest (secured).
  • Think about what you are buying. Avoid buying new electronics if they aren't needed, and research electronics manufacturers’ positions on conflict minerals when you do need to purchase new electronics. 
  • Contact companies to see what they are doing to eradicate conflict minerals from their supply chain.
  • Reach out to charities and organisations that are working to raise awareness and eradicate conflict minerals. For example, Conflict-free Campus Initiative [external].

If you’d like more support or advice, please contact us.

What is the University doing?

We are committed to working towards eradicating Conflict Minerals from the goods bought by the University.

We do this by:

  • investigating suppliers’ efforts to combat conflict minerals
  • requesting evidence of any actions and outcomes
  • working collaboratively with procurement consortia and the wider public sector
  • developing academic research that may help inform purchasing options (for example, the Make ICT Fair project)

This multi-faceted strategy is part of the University’s Living Lab approach to problem-solving, aiming to further the institution’s knowledge and action in the area of conflict minerals. Findings and best practices are shared with other institutions.

Living Lab projects

Conflict Minerals Policy

Conflict minerals policy


The policy builds on Sustainable Procurement work and founding membership of Electronics Watch, an EU-wide initiative that supports public buyers in calling for fair working conditions in electronics manufacturing.

Sustainable Procurement

Electronics Watch

Procurement is responsible for striving to ensure large purchases of electronics goods do not contain conflict minerals, while the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability is working to encourage further research and raise awareness amongst smaller-scale purchasers.


Our Conflict Minerals Policy has been amended in October 2017 to explicitly recognise the risk of conflict minerals in other commodities beyond ICT, such as in construction and vehicles. Originally passed on 1 March 2016 by the University’s Central Management Group.

Topic: supply chains & purchasing