September 26, 2014 – October 3, 2014

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.

Canadian Conflict Minerals Act Opposed

This past week, the Canadian parliament held a second reading vote on the Conflict Minerals Act (Bill C-486). According to the summary of the bill, which was taken directly from the bill itself, the bill would have “required Canadian companies to exercise due diligence in respect of the exploitation and trading of designated minerals originating in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in seeking to ensure that no armed rebel organization or criminal entity or public or private security force that is engaged in illegal activities or serious human rights abuses has benefited from any transaction involving such minerals.”

The bill was ultimately defeated on the second reading vote. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre), sponsor of the Conflict Minerals Act, released the following statement shortly after the defeat of the bill, “I am inspired by the widespread interest and support this bill has generated from thousands of Canadians, as well as civil society and industry organizations. I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to make Canada a leader in ending the trade in conflict minerals.”

Global Witness Begins Campaign Against European Commission Proposal in Advance of Debate

Global Witness, a non-governmental organization, is calling on friends and supporters to e-mail Members of the European Parliament in advance of the debate on the European Commission’s March 2014 proposed rule. Last March, the European Commission proposed a new voluntary system for supply chain due diligence self-certification, which focuses on the upstream portion of supply chain, specifically the more than 400 importers of minerals into the EU. For a more detailed summary, see our blog post titled EU Releases Draft of Conflict Minerals Regulation, Proposes Voluntary Scheme.

Global Witness feels that the European Commission’s proposed rule is not enough. “The European Commission is offering up a voluntary scheme - meaning most companies won’t even have to abide by it. Plus, it only covers a paltry 0.05% of European companies involved in the trade. It is unlikely to have any significant impact on the trade in conflict minerals. You still won’t know if the companies selling your favorite purchases are acting responsibly,” the campaign website provides.

The debate will certainly be interesting to watch. As noted by some commentators, several pro-business Members of the European Parliament (who presumably supported the less burdensome proposed rule) were defeated in their respective elections this past May 2014.