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EU Draft Regulation Would Establish Voluntary Program for Importers of Conflict Minerals

March 13, 2014

The European Commission (EC) proposed a draft Regulation to establish a self-certification system aimed stopping the trade of conflict minerals, which finances armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding areas. Under the voluntary self-certification program, EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold and their ores would be required to monitor and administer their purchases and sales based on the five steps of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance. More information on the guidance can be found on OECD's website.

The initiative also proposes a number of incentives supporting the Regulation to encourage supply chain due diligence by EU companies, such as:

  • Public procurement incentives for companies selling products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold;
  • Financial support for small and medium sized companies;
  • Recognition of EU companies that source responsibly from conflict-affected countries or areas;
  • Policy dialogues and diplomatic outreach with governments in extraction, processing, and consuming countries to encourage a broader use of due diligence; and
  • Support by EU Member States through their own policies and instruments.

 

The Draft Regulation was proposed in response to the European Parliament's call in 2010 for the EU to introduce legislation similar to the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which requires companies to investigate and publicly disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals. A question-and-answer document on developing an integrated EU approach to responsible sourcing of minerals originating in conflict-affected areas can be found on the EC website.