Implementation of US Dodd-Frank Act rule on conflict minerals: Commentaries, guidance, company actions

Section 1502 of the US law known as the "Dodd-Frank Act" includes a requirement that companies using gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum make efforts to determine if those materials came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country and, if so, to carry out a "due diligence" review of their supply chain to determine whether their mineral purchases are funding armed groups in eastern DRC.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the final rule implementing Section 1502 in August 2012.  The rule requires companies to report publicly on their due diligence and to have their reports independently audited. The initial reporting period started in January 2013.

- See here for concerns raised about the lawsuit filed in October 2012 by the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable against the SEC rule, and company responses to those concerns.
- See here for reactions to & analysis of the SEC rule after it was adopted in August 2012.
- See here for concerns raised by Global Witness, Enough Project and others about US business groups' opposition to the rule during the SEC's rulemaking process earlier in 2012, and company responses to those concerns.

Below: (1) Examples of company policies & actions to comply with Section 1502.
(2) Commentaries. (3) Tools & guidance.
Please email [email protected] to call our attention to any further materials.

1. Examples of company policies & actions

Supplier Responsiblity [scroll down to "Sourcing conflict-free materials"]
Apple

"Avnet's Conflict Minerals Policy Statement"
Avnet, 8 Jan 2013

"Addressing Conflict Minerals: Leading Collective Action Across Our Industry"
Dell

Praxis Mutual Fundsencourages implementation of US Dodd-Frank Act rules on conflict minerals
Everence, 7 Jan 2013

"GE’s Approach to Conflict Minerals"
General Electric (GE)

"HP Releases List of Supply Chain Smelters"
HP, 15 Apr 2013

"'Conflict Free' Supply Chain in Democratic Republic of Congo"
Intel, Jan 2013

"[Johnson Controls'] American Factories Told to Track Products Back to the Mine"
MacIver Institute, 7 Jan 2013

"Conflict Minerals: Our Approach"
Philips

"Plexus Takes Proactive Stance on Conflict Minerals"
Plexus, 21 Jan 2013

2. Commentaries

"Most Companies Falling Behind in Conflict Minerals Due Diligence"
Aravo Solutions, 29 May 2013

Global Witness testimony at US Congress subcommittee hearing on unintended consequences of conflict minerals rule
Sophia Pickles, Global Witness, 21 May 2013
Includes examples of company & industry-level implementation

"HP’s Conflict-Free Supply Chain Initiative is an Industry First"
Melanie Colburn, TriplePundit.com, 24 Apr 2013

"White paper analyses final report on OECD conflict minerals pilot implementation programme"
MetalMiner, 8 Mar 2013

Report finds information & communication industry makes progress in effort to eliminate conflict minerals from supply chain while other industries remain behind
Responsible Sourcing Network, Jan 2013

Consumer demand for conflict-free products key for companies seeking to comply with new US conflict minerals rules
Joe Verrengia (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) on CSRwire blog, 21 Jan 2013

Regulators have not analysed US conflict minerals rules' impact, business groups say in court brief
Christopher M. Matthews, Wall Street Journal, 17 Jan 2013

Dodd-Frank Act may result in de facto embargo on sourcing minerals from Dem. Rep. of Congo, say analysts
Robert Borthwick & James Warwick (Maplecroft) in This is Africa, 14 Jan 2013

"Addressing New Conflict Minerals Requirements: Key Success Factors for Processes and Reporting"
William Newman (Neman Consulting Group) in Ethisphere, 14 Jan 2013

"Not a Loophole — Reaction to the Forbes article" (see below)
Dynda Thomas, 10 Jan 2013, Squire Sanders Conflict Minerals Law Blog

"My Nomination For Worst Law Of The Year: Dodd Frank On Conflict Minerals"
Tim Worstall, 25 Dec 2012, Forbes (USA)

3. Tools & guidance 

A Quick Update on a Possible EU Directive on Conflict Minerals
Resource Consulting Services, 7 Oct 2013

"SEC issues guidance on conflict minerals rules"
Kimberley R. Anderson, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, 3 Jun 2013
- Full text of guidance
US Securities & Exchange Commission, 30 May 2013

OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
OECD, 2011
Referred to in SEC final rule as "the only nationally or internationally recognized due diligence framework available"

Gold Supplement to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance
OECD, 17 Jul 2012

For further reports & tools on implementing the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, see here

Other tools

EICC-GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter Assessment Program
List of compliant smelters & reporting tproemplate for Dodd-Frank Act rule

Source Intelligence white papers:
- Product Filtering : A Critical First Step in Conflict Minerals Compliance
  Michelle Turner & Tristan Mecham
- RCOI: Essential Elements for Tracing Conflict Minerals in Your Supply Chain
  Michelle Turner, Tristan Mecham, & Jennifer Kraus
- Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Examined: Considerations for Compliance
  Jennifer L. Kraus & Jahara Singh

USA: Electronics industry association publishes due diligence guide to implement new rules on conflict minerals
IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries), 10 Feb 2013

[PDF] Checklist for company compliance with US conflict minerals rules
Schulte Roth & Zabel, Jan 2013

MetalMiner releases white paper: "The Definitive Guide to Conflict Minerals Compliance for Manufacturers"
MetalMiner, 29 January 2013

Multi-part article series provides background & guidance on US Dodd-Frank conflict minerals rules
EHS [Environmental, Health & Safety] Journal, 19 Jan 2013

Audio & video of electronics industry association seminars on impact of US conflict minerals rules on electronics companies available
IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 9 Jan 2013

New compliance management system aims to help companies report on conflict minerals under US Dodd-Frank Act
TPP, 9 Jan 2013

Law firm launches blog to address compliance with recent US Securities & Exchange Commission rule over conflict minerals
Squire Sanders, 3 Jan 2013

"Conflict Minerals Resource Center" to help company compliance
Schulte Roth & Zabel

[Français] "Maniema : le gouvernement provincial lance une opération d’étiquetage des minerais"
Radio Okapi [Rép. dem. du congo], 29 décembre 2012

Conflict free "bag & tag" certification allows legal mineral exports from Dem. Rep of Congo
Jonny Hogg, Reuters, 8 Nov 2012
Refers to Conflict-Free Tin initiative

Automotive Industry Action Group & iPoint create data management tool to help industry comply with Dodd-Frank rule on conflict minerals
Justmeans, 18 Sep 2012

Events

Webinar on conflict mineral legislation in Canada & European Union (12 Jun)
Source Intelligence

Event on impacts of proposed European conflict minerals legislation (Brussels, 3 Jun)
European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)

Webinar: "Industry Veterans Speak Out on the Changing Requirements of Due Diligence" (10 Apr)
Source Intelligence

Webinar offers guidance on compliance with US conflict minerals rules (21 Feb)
Schulte Roth & Zabel

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Article
21 January 2013

Conflict Minerals: Compliance Challenges Ahead as Businesses Worry About Penalization [USA]

Author: Joe Verrengia (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) on CSRwire blog

[Some] companies say the conflict minerals regulations penalize them for circumstances far beyond their influence. More than a year before the first conflict minerals report is due to the SEC in 2014, they are feeling the pinch from customers asking...

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17 January 2013

Business Groups Fully Brief “Conflict Minerals” Legal Challenge

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14 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Being Frank About Conflict Minerals

Author: Robert Borthwick & James Warwick (Maplecroft) in This is Africa

Section 1502 [of the Dodd-Frank Act] will introduce significant...compliance costs...There are concerns that Section 1502 will not be effective...given widespread cross-border smuggling into states with a weak regulatory framework...and into countries...

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9 January 2013

IPC Conflict Minerals Seminar Proceedings Now Available: Explains SEC Regulation and Provides Compliance Assistance

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9 January 2013

TPP Introduces Conflict Minerals Identification and Reporting Capabilities [USA]

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In response to the SEC's ruling on the Dodd-Frank...Act, Section 1502... TPP announces its Compliance Management Module (CMM) will provide identification, reporting, and due diligence capabilities to meet the new requirement...Adhering to the...

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7 January 2013

Conflict minerals worry Everence [USA]

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Praxis Mutual Funds, advised by Everence Capital Management, is working to end violence in the conflict minerals industry...In the Democratic Republic of Congo, four minerals fuel illicit trade, civil war and forced labor — including child labor.....

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Squire Sanders Launches Conflict Minerals Compliance Blog

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Squire Sanders...launched...a blog addressing all aspects of compliance with the rule recently adopted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) governing the use of conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold) that originate from the...

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1 January 2013

[PDF] Ramping Up Conflict Minerals Rule Compliance — A Near-Term Checklist for Public and Private Companies

Author: Michael R. Littenberg & Farzad F. Damania, Schulte Roth & Zabel

The SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule...requires public companies to conduct supply chain diligence and make disclosures concerning specified minerals...Companies in the earlier stages of Conflict Minerals Rule compliance...should consider the following...

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8 November 2012

"Conflict-free" tags help revive Congo minerals trade

Author: Jonny Hogg, Reuters

The..."bag and tag" initiative could allow mineral exports from Congo's violent east to flow legally again...The tag certifies the tin ore is conflict-free to ensure it will not fall foul of the Dodd Frank Law...The tag scheme now being applied by...

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Auto Industry Gets Socially Responsible on Conflict Minerals

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A new system has been created to help auto and other companies identify and avoid products sourced from conflict zones. The initiative is led by Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and iPoint, and involves two dozen AIAG affiliates. The effort has...

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