Is the EU Doing Enough to Regulate Conflict Minerals?

Sep 4, 2014 2:00 PM ET

As the demand for natural resources increases, the sale of conflict minerals will continue to fund armed groups in the DRC and voluntary measures to prevent this will not be enough. That is the claim made in a recent column in The Guardian.  The effectiveness of a recent EU proposal on the sourcing standards of conflict minerals is questioned because of its voluntary, and not mandatory enforcement. Without proper enforcement, the inhumane acts of militants that are being funded by the sale of conflict minerals will remain undisturbed.

While the European Commission’s proposal does aim at creating a Union system for “supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas,” it lacks the regulatory factor. It is voluntary and not enforced to the suppliers it is targeting. The proposal leaves it up to the importer of the minerals to provide documentation and third party audits that prove a conflict mineral free supply chain.

The EU is responsible for around 25% of global trade in Tin, Tantalum and Tungsten, and 15% of gold metals according to a press release from the European Commission. This demonstrates how important it is for the EU to create legislation that enforces companies to have corporate social responsibility and to ensure a safe supply chain.

In the US, regulations on conflict minerals were put in place 2 years ago and this past June publicly traded companies were required to report on the source of conflict minerals in their supply chain for the very first time.  To learn more about how companies and their suppliers were able to respond to this regulation, download a copy of Conflict Minerals Year In Review.  This report was developed by Source Intelligence, a next generation supplier management tools company and the leading provider of conflict minerals compliance programs.

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