Conflict Minerals Need Europe To Take Action

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Conflict Minerals Need Europe To Take Action

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 10:35am

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Currently, The European Union does not have a law regarding conflict minerals trade transparency. Why is this an important issue for Europe to take a stance against these minerals? Well here are some key facts about the status of conflict minerals as stated by an article by Business & Human Rights:

  1. Conflict Minerals include Gold, Tin, Tantalum, and Tungsten
  2. These minerals are illegally traded and mined via the aid of armed groups
  3. They lead to serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and Myanmar according to a business rights article
  4. These metals are primarily used in electronics and automotive parts, therefore the mining and import of these minerals into Europe is inevitable
  5. The United States has already passed an act for mandatory supply chain transparency when it comes to conflict minerals

The European Union is well aware of these issues and has had a back and forth on attempting to pass something that would call for more transparency. The EU as already released a due diligence statement (OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals From Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas). However this is a guideline rather than regulation and is not mandatory.

The EU has shown progress towards creating a regulation on conflict minerals. Here is a quick timeline of significant events in the past few years:

  • March 2014 – The EU commission presented a first draft regulation in the form of a voluntary certification that applied only to a few companies
  • May 2015 – The EU Parliament rejected this proposal and called for a binding regulation across the entire supply chain
  • February 2016 – The first part of conflict minerals regulation negotiations failed
  • April 2016- Representatives of the EU Parliament, EU commission, and the Dutch Presidency convened in Brussels for more negotiations, however once again they were inconclusive.

To date there has not been anything passed, so for now the OECD Guidelines still remain the standard. The Dutch government hopes to complete negotiations soon. If they cannot execute, countries like Germany, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are still pushing for regulation.

A mandatory certification process for Conflict Minerals in the European Union is critical. Any voluntary certification that is put in place leads to a grey area for compliance reporting, and the regulation will not serve its purpose. A strong, mandatory reporting process with a well-defined scope will yield strong results and truly make a large-scale impact on mining Conflict Minerals.

If you are interested in learning more about the EU conflict minerals pending regulation, click here. If you are interested in staying ahead of conflict minerals reporting, click here

Keywords: Ethical Production & Consumption | Conflict Minerals | Source Intelligence

CONTENT: Article