Conflict gold
A Congolese mineral trader holds a piece of paper containing nuggets of gold. Conflict minerals are one of the many sustainability issues that Tim Mohin has addressed as chairman of the electronics industry citizenship coalition. Photograph: KATRINA MANSON/REUTERS

Fast facts about Tim Mohin

Current role: Director, corporate responsibility at Advanced Micro Devices

Education: Bachelor of science in environmental biology, SUNY Cortland. Master of Environmental Management, Duke.

First job: Regulatory Analyst, Office of Air Quality, US Environmental Protection Agency

What inspires you? I’m inspired by measurable, lasting improvements in social and environmental performance

If you weren’t doing this… I would be writing novels

What are you working on these days?

I’ve been chairman of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) for nearly two years. I’m coming to the end of my term and it’s a good time to reflect. We now have more than 100 member companies with more than $3tn dollars in revenues. That’s an eye-popping stat. But what do you with that?

And what do you do?

Most importantly, we’re collaborating on a single code of conduct. Companies in the sector do their own social compliance audits. The idea behind EICC is that you can have a single audit based on a single standard that could be shared. The big brands — Microsoft, Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo, all of them — are working to share their social auditing results with one another. We’re really close to achieving that. We’re at the tipping point.

What’s the goal?

We’re trying to improve working conditions and the environment throughout the global electronics supply chain. Collaboration not only makes social auditing more efficient, it is also more effective. Think about this from the supplier’s perspective: when multiple customers responsible for a lot of your revenue are setting the same social compliance expectations there is a huge business imperative to meet the standards.

How will this new approach work?

We have a sharing system called EICC ON. It’s an online data management system, available in English and Chinese, that allows EICC members and their suppliers to share data from audits and self-assessment questionnaires. If two companies share the same supplier, and one of the companies has done an audit, that audit can be shared with other customers. This helps avoid duplicate audits and helps focus our resources on improving performance.

Does this raise antitrust issues?

We do have antitrust guidelines that we use at every meeting. But the work we are doing is not competitive. We’re not talking about products or pricing. We’re trying to improve conditions for people and the planet.

Away from work, what do you do to live more sustainably?

I drive an electric car and my wife drives a hybrid. We live in a walkable neighborhood close to work in a house that Austin Energy has rated as green. We grow some of our own food in our tiny urban garden space. Perhaps the most impactful thing I have done is help the next generation of sustainability leaders with my book Changing Business from the Inside Out (A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations). It’s a practical manual for people who seek to drive sustainability through corporate careers.