Investors and Human Rights Advocates Set Expectations for SEC Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Reports
As companies prepare their first required reports on conflict mineral use to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, key investors and human rights groups, have released a paper that sets expectations for the contents of the inaugural reports required by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
"Expectations for Companies’ Conflict Minerals Reporting" describes the content that sustainable and responsible investors and human rights advocates expect to see in a company’s Specialized Disclosure Form and/or Conflict Minerals Report. These disclosures will include information on the use of minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or neighboring countries, where egregious human rights abuses linked to the mining industry have plagued the region for 15 years.
Patricia Jurewicz, Director of Responsible Sourcing Network and co-author of the paper, states:
“Investors would like to see their companies establish baselines the first year and specify the steps they are taking so we can then measure improvements in transparency and accountability reporting over time. Our paper provides a set of specific indicators that can be tracked to allow for comparability between annual reports.”
Both Responsible Sourcing Network and the Enough Project, authoring organizations of the paper, engaged with the SEC throughout the process of defining the reporting requirements for section 1502, which began in 2010.
Darren Fenwick, Senior Government Affairs Manager at the Enough Project and co-author of the paper states:
“Advocates for a clean minerals trade wish to understand how issuers, who are connected to the Congo through mineral sourcing, are addressing their connection to the conflict that has resulted in millions of deaths. Additionally, companies whose reports show compliance benefit from positive public sentiment and increased brand recognition.”
The paper details the expectations for companies’ successful reporting, including:
Constructing key elements of a vigorous company conflict minerals policy and steps for implementing a program
Metrics that companies should track to effectively determine their actions to accurately assess the origin of their minerals
Commitment to only using minerals from smelters that have been audited as conflict-free by a credible program such as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative as they become available; and
Building a clean minerals trade by 1) Committing to sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo and the surrounding region; and 2) Implementing OECD due diligence processes to determine if an issuers’ minerals are contributing to the conflict.
Stakeholders also encourage companies to take compliance beyond the 1502 reporting requirements to help create a peaceful and secure Congo by participating in diplomatic efforts and contributing to alternative livelihood projects in the region.
Responsible Sourcing Network (www.sourcingnetwork.org), a project of the nonprofit organization As You Sow (www.asyousow.org), is dedicated to ending human rights abuses and forced labor associated with the raw materials found in products we use every day. RSN builds responsible supply chain coalitions of diverse stakeholders to leverage their influence in the areas of conflict minerals from the Congo and forced labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.
Enough Project (www.enoughproject.org) is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change.
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