In a surprising turn of events, last week, the European Union voted 402 to 118 to pass a law requiring companies to certify to the government that the minerals they source do not fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses, a piece of legislation that parallels –and improves on -- the US Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.
Next week marks a significant milestone in the effort to eliminate the brutal conflict minerals trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has funded armed insurgents responsible for mass murder and rape for the past twenty years.June 2 is the deadline for companies to comply with the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals legislation, and file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing whether the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold they have purchased have fueled conflict in the region.
A law proposed by the European Commission on responsible sourcing of minerals is not strong enough to prevent European companies’ mineral purchases from financing conflict or human rights abuses, and falls far short of expectations, campaigners said today.
Instead of putting forward robust legislation that would require a wide range of EU-based companies to do checks on their supply chains – known as due diligence – the Commission today announced voluntary measures that will only apply to companies importing processed and unprocessed minerals into the European market. The proposal covers companies involved in the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold sectors. The campaigners warned that the Commission’s proposal – an opt-in self-certification scheme available to a limited number of companies – is likely to have minimal impact on the way that the majority of European companies source natural resources.
A coalition of 59 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is calling on the European Commission to pass a strong law to prevent European businesses fuelling conflict and human rights abuses through their purchases of natural resources, such as tin, gold and diamonds. The call comes ahead of draft legislation due to be published by the Commission by the end of 2013.
This group of 58 European and global non-governmental organisations calls on the European Commission to adopt legislation requiring European business entities to conduct supply chain due diligence in order to ensure that they do not contribute to conflict financing or human rights abuses in the production and trade in natural resources.
If you believe corporate accountability for human rights violations is a good thing, you'll love this news: Industry interest groups looking to tie up the Dodd Frank conflict minerals rule in court lost. This week, a federal court upheld the SEC rule that requires corporations to publicly disclose whether the minerals they source have helped finance armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2010, in response to unspeakable atrocities from the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congress did a powerful thing: It passed Section 1502 of the Dodds Frank Act,which requires companies to investigate and disclose whether they source minerals from this region for their products, and whether this sourcing contributed funds to armed groups.