April 19, 2013 – April 26, 2013

The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Sanders (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.

The Playstation War: Conflict Minerals and Video Game Manufacturing

Barbara Jones, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Corporate and Securities practice group, recently wrote a blog post on Gamasutra’s website titled, “The Playstation War: Conflict Minerals and Video Game Manufacturing.” 

In her blog post, Ms. Jones highlights the close link between conflict minerals and video game manufacturers, stating that some have referred to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the “Playstation War.” Inside the video game industry, Ms. Jones notes that some companies have been more proactive than others in their compliance efforts. Companies such as Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and HP and have already developed policies and compliance procedures (just last week, HP released its list of smelters). In conclusion, Ms. Jones urges the video game industry to continue its due diligence and compliance efforts.

Key Takeaways from CEB Webinar on Conflict Minerals Compliance

CEB, a self-described leading member-based advisory group, held a webinar this month concerning conflict minerals. The topics included “explor[ing] the details of the regulations, what companies are doing to prepare, and what steps [p]rocurement executives can take.”

CEB then listed the key takeaways from the webinar:

  • Determine whether the conflict minerals rule applies to your company.
  • Undertake your “reasonable country of origin inquiry” in good faith.
  • Create a conflict minerals team from several different members of different departments.
  • Consider offering training or resources to your suppliers.

Source: CEB, April 18, 2013, Conflict Minerals Webinar: Key Supply Chain Takeaways

Eastern Mennonite University to Stop Purchasing Products Containing Conflict Minerals

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), a private liberal arts university located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, signed a conflict-free campus resolution that commits the university not to  purchase products that contain conflict minerals.

EMU released the following press release: “On March 13, 2013, the EMU president’s cabinet approved the conflict-free resolution presented by Eastern Mennonite’s Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. The resolution states that the university ‘will support companies that use conflict-free minerals, specifically in the area of hardware-technology purchasing and consumption.’” The press release further states that “EMU is the first Mennonite higher-education institution to sign the initiative. Other participating schools include Stanford, Duke, Emory and the University of Pennsylvania.”

Ivy League Students Deliver Joint Statement on Conflict Minerals

According to Raise Hope for Congo’s website, students from Brown, Dartmouth and Yale released “a joint statement calling for responsible investment policies in relation to conflict minerals sourced from eastern Congo.”

Excerpts from the statement follow. “We, as students from Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale Universities, are concerned about the ongoing human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While this legislation (Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act) is a major step, consumers must continue (sic) demonstrate that there is a demand for conflict free products if companies are to be expected to implement sufficient measures. In fact, the Dodd-Frank Act calls upon responsible investors to make informed investment choices based on these corporate reports. Since universities are major institutional consumers of and investors in electronics, they are well positioned to stand behind electronics companies that source responsibly from Congolese mines—or to consider withdrawing support in instances where companies turn a blind eye. We therefore call on our respective administrations, investor responsibility committees, Boards of Trustees, and on members of other Ivy League institutions to help bring an end to the atrocities in Congo by advocating for socially responsible procurement and investment policies related to conflict minerals.”