April 26, 2013 – May 3, 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.

Conflict Minerals Legal Challenge to Be Delayed

In the past week, there were several significant developments in the conflict minerals legal challenge.

In our April 27, 2013 blog post, we first reported that the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in American Petroleum Institute v. SEC that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the challenge of the SEC resource extraction rule that was issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. Joe Mont, in his Compliance Week article titled, “Appeals Court Ruling Could Drag Out Conflict Minerals Lawsuit,” highlighted the similarities between the conflict minerals rule and the resource extraction rule to show why the decision from American Petroleum Institute v. SEC was so important: “Both were required by the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted by the Commission on the same day, tackle social ills (the funding of violent warlords for the former, bribery for the latter), and require filings that use the new Form SD. Both are also being challenged with lawsuits filed by industry groups.” Mr. Mont also quoted our very own Dynda Thomas concerning the consequences of the decision on conflict minerals compliance, “If you were waiting to implement your compliance program until after the court reached a decision in NAM v. SEC, you may want to reconsider that strategy. The wait may be a lot longer than you expected.”

Two days later, on April 29, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded  in NAM v. SEC that the scheduled May 15th oral arguments were not necessary and that the conflict minerals rule legal challenge would be decided based on the existing filings made by the parties. One could reason that by cancelling oral arguments, the Court was foreshadowing that it did not have jurisdiction and that the conflict minerals legal challenge should first be initiated at the district court level. 

Finally, on April 30, 2013, the parties, presumably seeing the inevitable, proactively filed a motion to transfer the case to the United States District Court, District of Columbia. On May 2, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the motion.

So where does this leave us? Dynda sums it up nicely in Mr. Mont’s article, “In the meantime, you will want to turn your attention (again) to your own conflict minerals compliance program and prepare for the requirements and deadlines as they currently exist.”

Enthone Releases Conflict Minerals Policy

Enthone Inc. is a self-described “leading global supplier of high performance specialty chemicals and coatings.” Last week, it released a conflict minerals policy. Excerpts from the policy follow. “Enthone is diligently putting systems in place that will enable us, with a high degree of confidence, to declare that our supply chains are conflict-free by January 1st 2014. Enthone defines ‘conflict-free’ as having all manufactured goods with metals from smelters that have been validated, where needed by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) Conflict-Free Smelter program. To facilitate our commitment to ensuring a conflict-free supply chain, Enthone is collaborating with several industry groups to develop and implement a comprehensive supplier approval system to prevent conflict metals from becoming part of the Enthone supply chain.”

For Enthone’s complete conflict minerals policy, please see Enthone Conflict Minerals Policy.

Squire Sanders Note: Over the last twenty weeks or so, we have been gathering an assortment of conflict minerals policies and statements on our blog. To view the entire collection, please see conflict minerals policies.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee Publishes “Essential Guide to Conflict Minerals and the Dodd-Frank Act”

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) is a “not-for-profit legal trade association fulfilling its mission to maintain the jewelry industry’s highest ethical standards.” In its April 30th press release announcing the guide, the JVC states that in this guide you will find:

  • A summary of Dodd-Frank and how it impacts companies dealing in these minerals;
  • The impact of Dodd-Frank on non-SEC listed businesses;
  • Suggestions on practical steps suppliers can take to meet the needs of their customers that must file reports with the SEC and examples to illustrate these steps; and
  • FAQ’s that might be helpful to your understanding of the impact of Dodd-Frank on your company and definitions of important terms with explanations.

To view JVC’s guide, please see “Essential Guide to Conflict Minerals and the Dodd-Frank Act.”

Belden’s Statement on Conflict Minerals

Belden Inc., “a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of broadcast, enterprise and industrial connectivity and industrial networking and products for many industries,” recently released a statement on conflict minerals. Excerpts from the statement follow. “Belden, like many companies in electronic product industries, uses some of these materials in the manufacturing of its products as they are required for the functional performance of the products. Belden does not purchase these metals directly from smelters or mines, so we must rely on the source information provided by our suppliers.  Belden is working closely with our direct suppliers to trace newly mined minerals back to their origin in order to ensure responsible sourcing. As tracing methods evolve, we intend to incorporate appropriate proven methods in our program.”

“Belden will take the appropriate actions to remedy the situation in a timely manner, including reassessment of supplier relationships. Belden expects our suppliers to take similar measures with their suppliers to ensure alignment throughout the supply chain.”

To read Belden’s complete statement on conflict minerals, please see Belden’s Statement on Conflict Minerals.