Supply chains eliminate conflict minerals

August 21, 2012

Research by the Enough Project revealed that sizeable companies are “beginning to rid their supply chains of conflict minerals such as tin, tungsten and gold,” in a bid to put an end to the violence and human rights crises surrounding who controls and sells these minerals.Conflict minerals are fundamental components in various electronic devices, including computers, laptops and mobile phones, hence why they are so valuable to businesses. As they bring in large profits, there is constant conflict as to who controls and sells the conflict minerals, which has resulted in a more serious battle, where armed groups attempt to control mining areas. However, many large businesses are finding new sources for these materials.

According to a recent report, “Large consumer electronics companies like Apple, Intel and Hewlett-Packard are now carefully monitoring where their minerals come from.

A section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act addressed this sourcing issue and requires companies that get their minerals from the DRC to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission on the actions they take to ensure conflict minerals are not being used.”

Forbes also reported that numerous companies and investors urged the SEC to put some rules in place, which will provide businesses with a clear idea of what to do.

Other industries will be affected aside from the electronics industry, including the automotive, mining and jewellery industries, which also source conflict minerals. However, the Enough Project has revealed that such industries are putting the purchase of conflict minerals on hold due to the Dodd-Frank legislation.

The report continues, “In addition to being required by law to examine their sourcing, increased consumer activism has also led companies to employ strategic sourcing techniques to avoid these conflict minerals, the Enough Project stated on its survey results.

“The Enough Project began ranking companies on their attempts to rid supply chains of conflict minerals in 2010. Most companies listed have improved their scores over time; though, some have not taken steps to improve their sourcing as much as others.

“The Enough Project says its goal is not to stop mineral sourcing from the DRC completely, but rather to ensure the minerals being purchased from the area do not support armed rebel groups that contribute to human rights abuses.”