Reporting on conflict minerals 'falls short of the mark'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
2 June 2014

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2 June 2014 | Will Green

Reports from US-listed firms covering their use of conflict minerals in electronic products “fall short of the mark”, according to a campaign group.

Under US law companies, which report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), had until a deadline of today to file reports with the SEC covering efforts to source responsibly if products contained tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.

Global Witness said firms had published “minimal” information on efforts to discover the source of minerals, many had not explained how they assess suppliers, and others “have not shown the steps they have taken to identify and mitigate the risks in their supply chain”.

According to Global Witness, 620 firms had submitted reports a matter of hours ahead of the deadline, while the SEC estimated around 6,000 companies would be affected by the rules.

Campaigner Sophia Pickles said: “Some firms have made strong submissions containing detailed information about the steps they have taken to source minerals responsibly – and demonstrating that oversight of supply chains is possible.

“Sadly, these companies are in the minority. The lack of information in most of the submissions we have seen suggests companies have not taken the necessary steps to find out what is really going on along their supply chains, so we can’t tell if they are are sourcing responsibly or not.”

The law, part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is designed to prevent minerals being used to finance conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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