Supply Chain Management

Teaming with suppliers for sustainability system-wide.

Achieving true sustainability requires us to extend our efforts beyond our direct operations to our suppliers. As a fabless semiconductor company, we work particularly closely with the semiconductor foundry and assembly suppliers that manufacture our products. We monitor their processes and materials and continually work to make our products as sustainable as economically and technically possible. Beyond the manufacture of our products, we also work with suppliers to meet our other sustainability expectations: respect for human rights; responsible sourcing of minerals; water, energy and other resource conservation; and more. 

"Qualcomm, as a world leader in wireless communications technologies, has a unique opportunity to help shape supplier sustainability policies. As mobile technologies continue to benefit society in new and often unexpected ways, it is important that companies like ours collaborate with key stakeholders to foster sustainability throughout the supply chain."

— Kevin Caffey, Vice President, Quality and Reliability

Making our expectations clear.

As a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), we have adopted the RBA Code of Conduct in our own operations and as our supplier code of conduct, and we expect all of our suppliers to act in accordance with this code. The RBA Code promotes safe working conditions, freely chosen labor, responsible environmental operations and ethical business practices, among other important principles. By employing RBA resources and working collaboratively with our peers, we’re working to improve transparency and sustainability in our global electronics supply chain. The Qualcomm Way: Our Code of Business Conduct, the RBA Code of Conduct, and our RBA membership help guide our responsible business practices and our expectations of our suppliers.

The requirement to comply with our Supplier Code of Conduct is specified in our contracts with suppliers and/or through our purchase order terms and conditions.

Protecting the environment.

Each of our direct semiconductor suppliers is required to have an ISO14001-certified environmental management system. We work with our semiconductor suppliers at multiple stages of design and manufacturing processes in an effort to help comply with applicable environmental laws and various environmental initiatives.

We have been proactive in removing substances from our products that may harm people or the environment. Read more about the substances our suppliers must avoid using.

Many of our direct semiconductor suppliers provide us with information about their greenhouse gas emissions and water use, which we are using to help set benchmarks for future sustainability strategies. Many of these suppliers also have clear goals for reducing both water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re currently assessing how we can better support them in achieving those goals.

Respecting human rights.

As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, we are committed to upholding human rights in our own operations and our suppliers’. We prohibit child labor, human trafficking and forced labor in our operations, and we expect our suppliers to do the same.  Read Qualcomm's commitment to human rights.

Sourcing conflict minerals responsibly.

We share international concerns about the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries. We are working to help ensure that tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold that end up in our products do not contribute to armed conflict or human rights violations in the region. 

We have created a strong management system, which is designed to help source conflict minerals responsibly from the region, identify and assess risk in the supply chain, and design and implement strategies to respond to risk, in accordance with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due diligence framework. Also, as part of our due diligence efforts, we try to educate our suppliers about our policy and their role in responsible sourcing of conflict minerals.

Find out more about what we're doing to help conflict-afflicted regions through responsible sourcing of conflict minerals.

Collaborating with our suppliers.

We rely on independent third-party suppliers to perform the manufacturing and assembly, and most of the testing, of our integrated circuits based primarily on our proprietary designs and test programs. The majority of our manufacturing and test suppliers are located in the Asia-Pacific region.

Assessing our suppliers for risk and monitoring performance.

We are mindful of the impacts that the global electronics supply chain can bring to both society and the environment. Thus, we see making appropriate supplier selections, assessing our suppliers for risks, and monitoring their adherence to our Supplier Code of Conduct as integral parts of achieving a sustainable supply chain.   

We assess our semiconductor manufacturing suppliers annually using the RBA Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to help identify some of the greatest potential social, ethical and environmental risks.  Our semiconductor suppliers in the top 90% of total product-related spend category have been identified as having low risks, according to the RBA SAQ results.  Nevertheless, we intend to conduct more thorough on-site audits of selected primary suppliers in coming years for their adherence to our Supplier Code of Conduct.  In addition, as part of our quality monitoring program, our semiconductor manufacturing suppliers are assessed and monitored periodically for compliance on various sustainability topics, including product environmental governance and conflict minerals.

Correcting deficiencies and building sustainability capacity.

Our semiconductor manufacturing suppliers have shown effectiveness in many areas of sustainability, especially in product environmental governance.  Nonetheless, we have designed corrective action processes that include potential removal of deficient suppliers from Qualcomm’s supply chain.  

We believe helping our suppliers build greater knowledge of sustainability issues – such as human rights, conflict minerals sourcing, or selecting less harmful substances for manufacturing – can create and improve suppliers’ and our own success for sustainable supply chains.  We share our knowledge with our suppliers through on-site visits, business meetings, emails and other collaborative efforts.  For example, since 2014, we have been working with one of our primary suppliers in encouraging and successfully guiding Korean gold refiners and a tungsten smelter to complete Conflict-Free Smelter Program audits.

Incorporating supply chain management into our 2030 Sustainability Vision. 

Our 2030 Sustainability Vision  is our roadmap to inform big-picture thinking on sustainability issues that are most important to our Company. We will be collaborating with our suppliers to create better solutions with the below goals in mind:

  • Maintaining adherence to our Supplier Code of Conduct in our extended supply chain

  • Ensuring that respect for human rights is integrated into all key business decisions

  • Ensuring sustainable and transparent management of climate and water impacts across our value chain

Guiding sustainability governance.

Guidance from the Qualcomm Sustainability and Reporting Leadership Committee helps shape our sustainable supply chain efforts. Learn more about our sustainability governance.

Increasing diversity among our suppliers.

We try to increase the diversity of our suppliers by reaching out to small, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses; businesses owned by women, veterans or people with disabilities; and businesses situated in historically underutilized business zones. Including such suppliers in our supply chain makes us a stronger company. Not only do we benefit from a variety of capabilities and perspectives, we also gain the value of unique, entrepreneurial, customized services that many of these suppliers provide. Contracting with such suppliers also helps support local economies.

Register your business or update your existing Qualcomm Supplier Diversity Profile

Raising concerns.

If you have concerns about Qualcomm supply chain management, our ethics hotline is publicly available 24/7. You can also contact us directly using the form at the bottom of this page.

Questions about our supply chain management?