With the first deadline for compliance with the SEC’s conflict mineral rule exactly 30 days from today, manufacturers are no doubt scrambling to get their templates in order – so we thought we’d help out by zeroing in on the top three things manufacturing organizations shouldn’t let slip through the cracks.
What’s that, you say? “But I thought the US Appeals Court struck down the SEC conflict minerals for violating the First Amendment!” Not so fast, bub. Check out our extensive past coverage.
Although the court did issue a key ruling a couple weeks ago, stating that “[b]y compelling an issuer to confess blood on its hands, the statute interferes with that exercise of freedom of speech under the First Amendment,” that only applies to parts of the Conflict Minerals rule – in other words, it wasn’t struck down entirely, meaning that the May 31 compliance deadline still stands.
Also, even more recently, SEC Chair Mary Jo White told members of the House Financial Services Committee that the agency will continue to implement the conflict minerals rule upheld by the court, and indeed the agency released further pre-deadline clarifications just yesterday (here are the important nuggets).
So without further ado, we tapped Lawrence Heim, director of The Elm Consulting Group International LLC/Elm Sustainability Partners LLC, for his Top 3 Priorities list for manufacturers during the month of May:
1. Words, Words, Words
“Continue to move ahead with all aspects of program execution and reporting, other than using words to describe product regulatory classifications. Yesterday’s announcement does not change anything other than a few words that are no longer required to be written in the disclosure. Activities associated with the relevant product classification must still be undertaken.”
2. Think Ahead
“Assess whether other stakeholders or constituencies may not be satisfied with leaving off a description of your product classification, even though SEC does not require it now. There may be no downside to continuing to report using the magic words.”
3. Well, This Is Interesting
[Likely frustrated with SEC’s maddening legal language, Lawrence decided to leave left the third wild card To-Do off the list – even I wasn’t privy to that secret information. However, we’re pretty sure that was intentional, and if you’d like to get the nitty-gritty lowdown, this is the best way to contact Lawrence.]