The term Conflict Minerals describes four elements – Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold. But what makes these minerals “Conflict Minerals”? In politically unstable areas, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), armed groups often use forced labor to mine minerals. They then sell those minerals to fund violent activities, for example to buy weapons.
These Conflict Minerals can find their way into our mobile phones, cars and jewelry. This impacts legitimate participants in the mineral mining industry. In turn, this is critical to the sustainability of the DRC economy, and to the protection of its people. How is this critical issue being addressed?
Addressing the Problem
Governmental bodies, NGOs, and corporations are playing a role in addressing the issue. Regulations in the United States require publicly traded corporations in the U.S. to implement due diligence and compliance measures as part of their annual, federal Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.
The European Union (EU) Conflict Minerals regulation ensures that EU importers of materials containing defined Minerals meet international responsible sourcing standards. The regulation requires global and EU smelters and refiners of Conflict Minerals to source responsibly. Thus, breaking the link between conflict and the illegal exploitation of minerals. The new regulation is slated to take effect on January 1, 2021. The European Commission encourages all companies which the regulation covers to start aiming for compliance before this date. Similar regulations are being considered or in development globally.
Despite the potential for repeal of the US SEC requirement on US publicly traded companies, many believe that the issue is one that companies will continue to address as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility commitments to stakeholders. Regulatory compliance is not the only driving factor. Companies will see continued pressure and expectations by their customers and the NGO community.
How can you ensure compliance and support your external stakeholder commitments?
Many companies turn to Conflict Minerals program management to help strengthen supply chains and remain compliant with applicable regulations. Gensuite’s Responsible Sourcing & Product Stewardship solutions provide holistic program management and service capabilities for supplier risk & auditing programs and product compliance & stewardship programs.
With Gensuite software you can:
- Streamline supplier engagement and reporting via Gensuite’s web-based Supplier Portal
- Automate issue alerting and performance communication via built-in business intelligence and dashboards
- Respond quickly to customer requests with automated, roll-up reporting across company divisions and suppliers
- Automate Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) to streamline responses to customer requests
- Coordinate cross-functional team activities (Sourcing/ procurement, Engineering, EHS, etc.)
- Integrate Gensuite with business IT systems (e.g., ERP, PLM) for automatic sharing of suppliers, BoMs, parts, and compliance information
- Minimize internal resource commitment via Gensuite’s integrated Program Support Services for expert administration of supplier engagement and response validation services
- Extend business capability easily with Gensuite’s robust and fully integrated Responsible Sourcing and Product Compliance/Stewardship platform –Supplier Sustainability, Supplier Audits, Product Compliance tracking (e.g., REACH, RoHS), and more
With a proper Conflict Minerals Management Program in place, your organization can address compliance obligations and ensure greater visibility and insights into program aspects critical to supply chain continuity and risk mitigation..
How and Why a Conflict Mineral Program Works: A Case Study
Gensuite successfully created a Conflict Minerals Management Program for a multinational transportation equipment manufacturer with a global supply chain and several hundred suppliers. The company needed a solution to integrate with existing supplier engagement, ensure due diligence, and enable data collection processes to address related responsible sourcing and product compliance regulations. Additionally, the company needed a solution that created rapid responses to customer requests at the company-level and division-level CMRTs as well as streamlined roll-up.
After implementing Gensuite, the company successfully integrated the Conflict Minerals program with it’s broader Responsible Sourcing and Product Regulatory Compliance programs. This enhanced due diligence and reporting activities, including automated customer response generation and streamlined U.S. SEC reporting.
For more on this topic, download Gensuite’s Conflict Minerals white paper.