If you’ve been skimming headlines on the new administration you’re aware that many regulations are under coming under intense scrutiny from legislators. One of them is section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act. This portion of the bill aims to increase transparency around the use of conflict minerals in supply chains. Many companies depend on mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a steady supply of minerals such as coltan (from which tantalum is derived), cassiterite (tin), gold, wolframite (tungsten). These minerals are used in products many of us use every day (smart phones, electronics, jewelry). The individuals who work at these mines are often children, work for violent militias under unsafe conditions, and make very little. Advocates for section 1502 believe it can pressure companies to recognize their involvement in fueling conflict and empower them to use their influence to improve the lives of millions impacted by conflict mineral extraction and trade.
The SEC is currently taking the public’s comments on the legislation, so Figure 8 has joined with a group of investors representing over $4.8 trillion in assets under management to send the administration a clear message. This group believes that while there are still many problems to be solved in this region, the solution moving forward is not lax regulation. Companies are a critical stakeholder to this issue and therefore, must be aware of their involvement in the DRC.
Read more about the letter we sent to the SEC here, and, feel free to make your own comment before March 17 by accessing guidance issued by the Enough Project: http://enoughproject.org/content/tell-sec-keep-us-conflict-minerals-rule-intact#Take%20Action