The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a U.S. financial oversight body, has developed the first draft of reporting requirements for companies covered by the U.S. legislation on Congo's conflict minerals.
Tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold are essential to the performance of our SMART technology used in cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other high-end consumer electronics. These minerals are sourced from eastern Congo, home to the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. Over 5 million people have died, and rape is epidemic. The armed militias and soldiers committing atrocities in Congo make hundreds of millions of dollars per year on the illicit trade in Congo’s minerals.
Congress took a major step forward last year by passing conflict minerals provisions in the Wall Street Reform Act that will require all manufacturing companies that source tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold to find out where they get their minerals from and to audit their supply chains to ensure they are not benefiting armed groups in Congo.
Thanks to public action the proposed regulations incorporate points that we feel are essential to curbing the illicit trade in conflict minerals and ensuring our purchases do not contribute to a deadly war. But companies are actively calling for these rules to be watered down easing the reporting requirements placed on them, for example jewelry companies are asking for an exemption from the requirements all together. These draft regulations are open for public comments until March 2nd, after which time they will be finalized as law. (A group of activists will print out and hand deliver the petition to the commissioners in mid-February, so the petition will close on February 18.)
A few months ago activists delivered over two thousand signatures and comments to the SEC to voice how important it is for the legislation to deliver on its purpose: clean, transparent supply chains that facilitate a mining sector in Congo that benefits its people - and your voices were heard! Now as we enter the final stretch we need you to lend your voices once again to ensure the final rules remain strong.