December 16, 2012 – December 23, 2012

United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office Provides Guidance to British Companies Trading in Minerals from DRC

The UK government recently created a one-page resource for British companies dealing with minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The resource provides an overview of the issue and some of the legislation that has been introduced around the world, including Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This is a good introductory resource for individuals and companies not yet familiar with conflict minerals and their regulation.

European Parliament Called on to Propose Conflict Minerals Legislation for EU-Based Companies Now

The Coalition for a Conflict –Free St. Andrews, a group comprised of university students on the eastern coast of Scotland, is calling on the European Parliament to propose legislation addressing the trade of conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo immediately.

Conflict-Free Gold Standard and Conflict Minerals Due Diligence

The World Gold Council and leading gold mining companies and refiners recently developed the Conflict-Free Gold Standard. The standard, which was published in October 2012, is based on well-known frameworks, including the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected Areas and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. The Conflict-Free Gold Standard is a framework by which gold miners can show that their operations have not caused, supported, or benefited unlawful armed conflict or contributed to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international humanitarian law.

The Conflict-Free Gold Standard is designed, in part, to “operationalize” the OECD guidance for gold miners. One example of this is the creation of an approach to determine which areas should be considered “conflict-affected or high-risk.” The OECD Guidance does not designate such areas nor does it provide guidance on how such areas should be identified.

SunPower: Conflict Minerals Policy

SunPower suppliers are required to acknowledge SunPower’s Code of Conduct, which includes requirements regarding Conflict Minerals and responsible sourcing. SunPower’s suppliers are also responsible for passing the same requirements on to their suppliers.

Suppliers will be required to declare that all products supplied to SunPower either:

  1. Do not contain tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold that are necessary to their production or functionality, or
  2. If they do contain any of these minerals, that they originate from non-conflict areas or from smelters that have been validated by an independent private sector party to be conflict-free.

Read the full SunPower Conflict Minerals Policy.