November 21, 2014 – November 28, 2014

The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

Conflict Minerals Case to Be Reheard

As Dynda points out in her blog post titled Conflict Minerals Case to Be Reheard, on November 18, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the SEC’s petition to rehear the court’s April 2014 conflict minerals decision following the same court’s July 2014 decision in the American Meat Institute v. USDA case.

In American Meat Institute, the court upheld USDA regulations requiring country-of-origin labels to be placed on meat products, reasoning that the information called for in those labeling requirements is factual and non-controversial and thus the requirement should be reviewed under a rational basis test for commercial speech instead of a more exacting scrutiny.

This past summer, the SEC petitioned the court to rehear the conflict minerals case under the less exacting scrutiny that was used in American Meat Institute. Now that the SEC’s petition has been granted, Dynda notes that “there is still a chance that all of the disclosure requirements of the conflict minerals rule could apply to reporting companies.”

Note: The decision won’t impact the inquiry or due diligence obligations, so companies should continue to work on their supplier outreach and other compliance steps.

Global Witness Charges that Europe Is Dragging Its Feet on Conflict Minerals

Michael Gibb, Campaign Leader for Conflict Resources at Global Witness, in a Huffington Post UK Blog post titled Europe Is Dragging Its Feet on Conflict Minerals, commented on the March 2014 European Commission’s proposed regulation, stating, “But, [the proposed regulation] is toothless. It covers only 0.05% of EU companies involved in the trade and these companies only have to check their supply chains if they choose to opt in. The proposed scheme does not cover products, such as [jewelry] and mobile phones, and will effectively leave the EU without any meaningful regulation to make sure Europe’s mineral trade is conducted responsibly.”

We expect that Global Witness and other NGO’s will continue with this same message as the debate in the European Parliament begins.

Solutions for Hope Receives Grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation to Expand Conflict Minerals Program

Solutions for Hope, a self-described “platform that supports companies, civil society organizations, and governments working together to responsibly source minerals from regions experiencing conflict where market access is limited by opaque supply chains,” received a grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation to expand its platform to other regions of the world and other minerals.

According to the Solutions for Hope website, “[i]n 2011, Motorola Solutions and AVX joined forces and created the Solutions for Hope tantalum program to test the feasibility of responsible, traceable sourcing of tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to promote economic stability of the area.”

For more information, please see Motorola Solutions’ press release.