May 31, 2013 – June 7, 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.

New Android Smartphone Made of Conflict-Free Minerals

This October, Dutch firm FairPhone is set to fulfill over 5,000 pre-orders for its newest android smartphone made with conflict-free tin and tantalum. Mobile Magazine reports that the “specs are certainly not the best out there, but their intention is to spread the message for more ethically made electronics…they have used materials from artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are not run by armed groups.”

NYSE Euronext: Challenges of Complying with the Conflict Minerals Rule

Marc H. Iyeki, Managing Director of Asia-Pacific client services and business development at NYSE Euronext, recently took part in a forum hosted by JP Morgan in which several issues were brought to the participants’ attention. Mr. Iyeki shares those issues in his article titled, “Challenge of Meeting SEC Rules on Conflict Minerals“:

  • “[T]he strain the due diligence puts on the company-supplier relationship, especially with respect to due diligence conducted upstream beyond the second tier and third tier companies”;
  • “[H]ow far must a company go in conducting its reasonable country of origin inquiry and supply chain due diligence and why are some suppliers not playing ball with some companies’ due diligence efforts?”;
  • “[T]he money required and hours spent to conduct due diligence.”

The most interesting takeaway I had after reading Mr. Iyeki’s article was that “Japanese companies tend to place a lot of value in maintaining goodwill with existing suppliers and do not want to impose upon the relationship.” Non-U.S. based companies may be forced to break certain customs and practices to provide the information called for by the conflict minerals rule.

Gefran – Conflict Minerals Supplier Letter

Gefran, “a leader in automation and systems components for industrial process control”, recently released a conflict minerals letter addressed to its suppliers. The letter requires its suppliers to ” (1) determine which of your products/components contain tin, tungsten, tantalum and/or gold; (2) Identify all the smelters in your supply chain that supply the tin, tantalum, tungsten and/or gold;  and (3) download, complete and return the EICC-GeSI reporting template.” The letter is signed by Gefran’s Quality Manager.

This is just one of the many publicly available examples that a company could refer to while drafting its own supplier letter.