In the seminal song “No Surprises” from Radiohead’s 1997 classic “OK Computer,” Thom Yorke observes an unhappy modern citizen, resigned to conform with society’s expectations. In the end, that citizen simply asks for a life with “no alarms and no surprises.”
Having talked to many company officials dealing with Dodd-Frank Section 1502 reporting, I sense that many could relate to the song’s theme. The SEC Conflict Minerals Law came as an enormous shock to the system, and the deadline of May 31, 2014, looms ever larger. At this point, companies seek to ease the difficulty and integrate this into the other compliance realities they face.
As manufacturing companies rightly focus on the “X”s and “O”s of establishing their compliance systems, analyzing responses from suppliers and requests from customers, and compiling their Conflict Minerals Reports (CMRs), they would do well to spend a few minutes with a recent NGO report concerning expectations for the coming reports. After all, although companies submit CMRs to the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is the NGOs who will provide a primary level of review and translate the impact of the reporting for the media, public, and many in Congress.
In addition to reiterating the need for engagement with in-region sourcing, manufacturers, in particular, may find a few points of interest: