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Material Compliance

How ABB ensures its use of materials does not endanger vulnerable societies or habitats.

ABB has a duty to ensure that the materials we use do not contribute to environmental degradation or lead to conflict and exploitation in the countries that produce them. To maintain high social, environmental and human rights standards, this duty is set out in our Policy on Health, Safety, Environment, Security and Sustainability as well as our Supplier Code of Conduct

In practice, this means that we have systems in place to monitor the source of certain minerals more closely, and phase out the use of hazardous substances in ABB products and processes. ABB expects suppliers to actively support ongoing efforts to manage and demonstrate product compliance with regulations such as REACH, RoHS and Conflict Minerals. We encourage our suppliers and sub-contractors to adopt similar standards and to comply with regulatory requirements.

Our organization continues to support responsible minerals sourcing and industry initiatives, while working with our suppliers to facilitate conflict-free sourcing that contributes to economic growth. In addition, ABB is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and adheres to the OECD guidelines to increase the transparency of conflict minerals in our supply chain.

Watch this video on the importance of conflict minerals and what we expect from our suppliers.


Strict legal frameworks have been put in place around the world to regulate the use of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, a group of elements that are collectively known as “3TG” or “conflict minerals”. The European Commission has singled out T3 minerals as the ones most likely to be associated with armed conflict in high-risk countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are present in weld wire, capacitors, electronic contacts and the coatings of electrical connections, all of which are used to make many of our products.

The eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has long been the site of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and the conflict there continues. Revenue from the illegal mining and trading of the DRC's natural resources have been exploited to fund armed conflict, and serious human rights abuses are linked to that conflict and to mines for certain ores, now known as conflict minerals.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, the following minerals and their derivatives are defined as conflict minerals:

  1. Columbite-tantalite (Coltan) - refined into tantalum (Ta)
  2. Cassiterite - refined into tin (Sn)
  3. Wolframite - refined into tungsten (W)
  4. Gold (Au)

These are also referenced as 3TG (Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold).

 


In August 2012, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued its final rules regarding “Conflict Minerals” as defined in and required by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The conflict minerals section of the Dodd-Frank Act focuses on supplies of tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold sourced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries. The purpose of the Act is to reduce violence in the region funded through exploitation of mining and trade activities. Companies listed on the NYSE (SEC registrants) will be required to disclose the use and source of conflict minerals. Companies must make a reasonable determination whether products involve specified materials from the region. For more information on the Dodd-Frank Act Final Rule and the Summary follow the links below:


ABB strives to be a good corporate citizen. We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and protection of people who come into contact with our products and business, and we require high social, environmental and human rights standards among our suppliers. As part of ABB's commitment and as conveyed in  ABB’s Policy on Conflict Minerals, we are working to establish strong management systems to comply with reporting obligations. In order to do so, we have defined a set of requirements for our suppliers. In particular, suppliers are required to:

  • Comply with the ABB Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Take the necessary steps to demonstrate that any Conflict Minerals contained in the products supplied to ABB originate from Conflict Free sources.    
  • Extend the search further down their supply chain, if necessary, in order to determine the source of specified minerals.
  • Work towards ensuring that they do not discriminate against legitimate sources of Conflict Minerals.

Our suppliers' compliance with these requirements will be a key factor in our future sourcing decisions. All suppliers to ABB will be asked to join efforts to identify whether conflict minerals are used or supplied to ABB and, if so, identify the country of origin.

In understand ABB's requirements, suppliers are strongly encouraged to review the following material:

For detailed guidance on how to complete the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) you can also refer to the RMI guide on the RMI website/CMRT/Training.


ABB continues to phase out hazardous substances in products and processes, where technically and economically feasible. We have developed lists of prohibited and restricted substances to guide this process and update them regularly, in line with international regulations.


The ABB List of Prohibited and Restricted Substances has been compiled in order to help our engineers and suppliers comply with regulatory requirements, ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment, and manage risks encountered by chemicals present in various products.

The Guide for Suppliers to the ABB List of Prohibited and Restricted Substances is provided with the purpose of supporting the interpretation of the ABB List and providing guidance on supplier’s obligations.

To obtain an older version of the ABB List of Prohibited and Restricted Substances, please contact sustainability.abbzh@ch.abb.com and indicate which version (i.e. validity date) you require.


The European Union Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) entered into force on  June 1, 2007. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure high level protection of human health and the environment. This regulation enhances the industry’s responsibility to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances present in various products. To ensure safe handling, manufacturers and importers are required to gather and disclose information regarding the properties of chemical substances.


The purpose of the European Union Directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) is to restrict the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.