‘Conflict minerals’ are minerals mined under conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, for example, in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and distributed throughout the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Under Section 1502 of the US Dodd-Frank Act, 'conflict minerals' are defined as minerals containing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold originating in the DRC and the adjoining countries. These four minerals are known as ‘3TG’. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Due Diligence guidance covers 3TG but is not country or region specific. The proposed EU scheme uses the OECD framework as a basis and regulates 3TG with an open geographical scope.
After mining, 'conflict minerals' are traded on local and international markets where smelters and refiners transform them into metals. The metals are subsequently processed into components for a vast number of end products.
Working through the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), the electronics industry established the Conflict-Free Smelter Programme (CFSP) which helps companies make informed choices about conflict minerals in their supply chains. The CFSP uses an independent third-party audit to identify smelters and refiners that have systems in place to assure sourcing of only conflict-free materials. There is mutual recognition between CFSP, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) schemes. Using such schemes means that companies can responsibly source minerals from conflict zones, supporting the local communities without withdrawing their economic activity and moving it to another region or country.
As an industry with many suppliers and sub-suppliers, we have accumulated considerable knowledge and experience on responsible sourcing through the implementation of the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative’s (CFSI) tools and programmes, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and Section 1502 of the US Dodd-Frank Act. To this end, we are working to help improve understanding across other economic sectors and regulators in order to establish systems, facilitate compliance with and enforcement of a workable EU scheme which complements existing regulatory and industry initiatives. We are very supportive of the Innovative European partnership to stimulate responsible mineral trade (EPRM).
OECD Due Diligence Guidelines: http://www.oecd.org/corporate/mne/mining.htm
Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI): http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/
CFSI programme for conflict free smelters (CFSP): http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/conflict-free-smelter-program/
LBMA (Association for the Bullion Market): http://www.lbma.org.uk/
Responsible Jewellery Council: http://www.responsiblejewellery.com/
EC proposal: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/march/tradoc_152227.pdf
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