SEC Adopts Conflict Minerals Rules as Chamber Threatens Lawsuit

Date: 
Aug 22, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 22, 2012

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, +1.202.386.1618, jhutson@enoughproject.org

WASHINGTON – The Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, voted on August 22 to adopt conflict minerals regulations required by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, despite industry pressure and the threat of a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"After a more than one-year delay in issuing the rule, it is disappointing that the SEC has added an unnecessary two-year phase-in period to implement these conflict minerals regulations," said Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw. "We still need to analyze the final rules to assess their impact on companies sourcing minerals from Congo and its neighboring countries, but such an extended phase-in period clearly caters to corporate interests over the people of eastern Congo."

The conflict minerals regulations require that companies disclose whether they use conflict minerals—gold, tin, tungsten, or tantalum sourced from eastern Congo or its neighboring countries—to reveal whether their products fund armed groups in eastern Congo. The Dodd-Frank legislation required the SEC to release regulations for companies using conflict minerals by April 17, 2011. However, delays caused by companies, bureaucratic processes, and the threat of a lawsuit by the Chamber of Commerce have pushed back the release for a full year.

“The Chamber of Commerce continues to threaten a lawsuit against the SEC, asserting the cost for cleaning up supply chains is too high for companies,” said Enough Project Senior Government Affairs Manager Darren Fenwick. “The reality is that major companies such as Microsoft, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions have rejected the Chamber of Commerce’s stance against section 1502 regulations, and industry leaders such as Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions and Apple have already established conflict-free programs ahead of the required SEC regulations, proving that clean supply chains are possible, and profitable.”

In response to growing consumer demand, over the past 18 months electronics companies have significantly stepped up efforts to use and invest in conflict-free minerals, according to Enough Project’s 2012 Company Rankings on Conflict Minerals.

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The Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists who will advocate for the human rights of all Congolese citizens and work towards ending the ongoing conflict in eastern Congo. For more information, please visit www.raisehopeforcongo.org.

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.