October 10, 2012
Complying with the New SEC Conflict Minerals Disclosure Rule
For decades, armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries have profited from the mining and trade of valuable minerals. The trade in "conflict minerals" has helped finance devastating civil conflicts in the region. The minerals in question are essential to many of the products we use in our everyday lives, including smart phones, medical devices, automobiles, jewelry, food packaging, and paint. In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the role improved transparency in global supply chains can play in easing civil conflict in the DRC.
In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act. Included in this legislation is a provision requiring certain companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals if the minerals are "necessary to the functionality or production of a product" manufactured by the company. Congress charged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with writing the regulations to implement the law. On August 22nd, 2012, the SEC voted to adopt a final rule that will require certain companies to determine whether conflict minerals used in their products originated in the DRC or adjoining countries and disclose information on the nature and results of the inquiry using a new Form SD. In some instances, companies will be required to exercise further "due diligence" on their supply chains and file a more detailed Conflict Minerals Report.
The panel discussed the Dodd-Frank reporting requirements, the SEC’s rulemaking and anticipated impacts of the new rule on companies and their global supply chains.
Lisa Goldman, Senior Attorney and Counsel, Environmental Law Institute (moderator)
Paul Hagen, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, PC
Sandy Merber, Counsel, International Trade Regulation and Sourcing, General Electric
Paul Hagen powerpoint presentation.