The term ‘Conflict Minerals’ is in the middle of controversies and continued furor everywhere, from the Senate to the boardrooms of manufacturers and other companies. The new Conflict Minerals Law has been issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following the ‘Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’.
The legislation has mandated that all companies conduct a thorough due diligence of their mineral sources and prevent further sourcing from the violence-ridden areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The law that passed in 2010 has led a global furor since compliance will require widespread changes in nearly all supply chain networks.
Compliance also means there will be definitive efforts to contain the violence in the Congo basin.
Despite the good intentions of the act, it has been met with a great deal of resistance. One such group of detractors claims that simply stopping the sourcing of minerals from this region won’t help. The second, and perhaps more vehement group, is composed of businesses who have an already established supply chain network that positively feeds their bottom line. The various levels of suppliers in these channels will be affected more adversely, since their business is based off of the minerals sourced from the DRC. Companies could go on for days as to why they want to resist this change, but not complying is not an option.
A brief look at the five reasons why you should NOT ignore the conflict minerals legislation:
1. Continued Conflict – The first reason to consider is that continued sourcing from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will only result in continued conflict in the region. The mining and sale of minerals from the region do not go to the poor people who do the work. Instead, the profits are distributed among the rebel groups, militia, Congolese National Army and unscrupulous governments of the surrounding nations who help in shipping the minerals out of the country. It is the duty of the developed nations as well as businesses around the world to show their support for the people of the DRC and stop this conflict.
2. Liability to Crime – The mines are mostly based in remote areas where the locally oppressed people face starvation and acute poverty. To top it all, they are also subject to horrific violence, which is the weapon the rebel groups use to force them into labor. Human rights abuse and atrocities include rape, mass killings, child labor, inhumane hours with bare-minimum wages or none at all. Violence is a sword that continuously hangs over their heads. It’s sad that an area so rich and diverse in its resources should be so violated that its indigenous population cannot benefit from it. But unless the conflicts and the atrocities stop, there is no hope for change. Think about it this way: would you willingly be an accessory to a crime in your everyday life? Obviously not. So why should you not be liable for the heinous crimes committed in the DRC?
The final 3 reasons? To be continued in Part Two.
MetalMiner welcomes Adam Cleveland as a guest contributor from MFG.com, which offers LiveSource – a cloud-based eSourcing tool that combines the power of advanced supplier management with the global reach of the world’s largest manufacturing marketplace. Need help refining your company’s Conflict Minerals sourcing strategy? Download this free guide to learn key facts and information about the Conflict Minerals provision, and how LiveSource can optimize your compliance program.
*Editors’ Note: Any/all viewpoints in guest articles are not necessarily held by MetalMiner.