Company Due Diligence
SEC votes on Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act
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Congo’s ‘conflict minerals’ are laundered into the global supply chain by exporters in the east of the country before being transformed into refined metals by large international smelting firms. The metals are then used in a wide range of products, including consumer electronic goods such as mobile phones and computers. Some of the world’s most famous brands are now coming under scrutiny to address their role in this devastating trade.
Companies using these minerals in their products should undertake ‘due diligence’ to establish whether they originate from the DRC or the surrounding area. If they are from the DRC, or if companies cannot be sure that they are not, then they need to show the public that they have procedures in place to prevent direct or indirect involvement with serious human rights abuses and other crimes.
Despite the mounting pressure on companies that use minerals and metals to carry out due diligence, few are actually doing this. Some companies claim that it is too complicated or too difficult for them to do. Yet, due diligence is a process that all reputable companies understand and employ on a regular basis to address risks ranging from corruption to environmental damage.
Global Witness argues that companies using minerals or metals originating from eastern DRC should do the following:
- Have a clear conflict minerals policy
- Carry out supply chain risk assessments, which should be based on on-the-ground checks
- Take action to deal with any problems identified
- Commission independent third party audits of their due diligence measures
- Report publicly on their findings
By putting these measures in place, companies can help to create a mining sector in eastern DRC that brings real benefit to the people who live there. A due diligence-based approach to sourcing minerals and metals is not about imposing blanket bans on trade; it is about ensuring that business does not perpetuate armed violence, serious human rights abuses and other crimes.
- 08.07.2010 | Do No Harm: A guide for companies sourcing from the DRC
- 31.07.2009 | Faced with a gun, what can you do?
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