gold eastern congo

Briefing / Oct. 2, 2015

Promising Chinese guidelines for mineral supply chain checks – public consultation begins

A month-long public consultation for draft Chinese due diligence guidelines for responsible mineral supply chains kicks off this week, aimed at ensuring Chinese companies can identify and mitigate risks of them contributing to conflict, serious human rights abuses and misconduct around the world. Members of industry, academia, civil society and government in China and abroad are encouraged to participate.

CCCMC, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters, led the development of the guidelines in association with Chinese and international partners, including Global Witness.

Key elements of the draft guidelines include:

  • Alignment with the 5-step risk-based supply chain due diligence guidance developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and recognised as international best practice. This includes companies having individual responsibility for carrying out their supply chain due diligence, conducting a third party audit of the process, and publishing their related policies and practices.
  • Applicability to all Chinese companies who are extracting or using minerals and mineral products at any point in the supply chain.
  • Applicability to all mineral resources, with an initial focus on gold, tin, tungsten and niobium-tantalum minerals.
  • Optional checks reflecting wider social and environmental concerns outlined in CCCMC’s 2014 Guidelines for Social Responsibility in Outbound Mining Investments.
  • Optional certification in which a company’s third-party audit is validated by an independent oversight body.  

The Chinese initiative to develop supply chain checks reflects international recognition of the links between international supply chains and violence in countries that produce natural resources. Resources from conflict or high-risk areas, such as parts of Afghanistan, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are known to have funded armed groups and fuel human rights abuses. Global Witness has documented the significant role Chinese companies play in the minerals trade in eastern DRC’s Kivu Provinces and how these firms remain at risk of being associated with the conflict.

A second consultation of the guidelines will take place in late 2015 for the associated audit protocols.

The draft guidelines are available in Chinese, English and French.

Comments should be sent to [email protected] before 7 November.

Contacts

Lizzie Parsons, China Programme Leader

[email protected]