The subject of conflict minerals has been long discussed in Europe and we are now moving forward to some proposed regulations coming into force by the end of the year. Here is a quick recap of what has happened previously and where we are at now:
A report published in September 2013 by a coalition of 59 civil society organisations called for the European Commission to pass a law "to prevent European businesses fuelling conflict and human rights abuses through their purchases of natural resources, such as tin, gold and diamonds."
The EU undertook a public consultation in March & June 2013 which led to further in depth consultations and an impact assessment of regulation on conflict minerals.
February 2014 saw the European Parliament voting in favour of a report to create an EU regulation “requiring companies using and trading minerals...should...create a legally binding obligation for all upstream...and downstream companies...to undertake supply chain due diligence to identify and mitigate the risk of conflict financing and human rights abuse.” The report was welcomed and numerous civil society groups urged the European Commission to follow the recommendations.
The European Commission announced a proposal in March 2014 regarding setting up an EU system of self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The legislation would regulate the importation of conflict minerals into the EU and would set up a voluntary self-certification process for importers of conflict minerals.
The proposal was initially debated in February 2015 with broad support for the regulations as a whole. Some suggestions were made including:
- Companies should be incentivised to comply with the self-certification system.
- A list of responsible importers should be drawn up and maintained by member states and the European Commission
- SMEs should be protected in the process and offered assistance so they can comply with the new system
Amendments will be formally proposed and debated yesterday on March 19th with a draft report to be voted on in April.
Of course, Cyclops will let you know of any further developments, including the outcome of the debate on the 19th as soon as possible! Be the first to know by subscribing to our blog, following us on Twitter or connecting on Facebook.