Published on: 2012-10-11

BRUSSELS, October 11 2012 – The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition® (EICC®) held their tenth Conflict-Free Minerals Supply Chain Workshop on 17 and 18 September in Brussels. The objective of the event was to provide participants with an update on regulatory developments in Europe and the United States, and their impact on supply chain initiatives. The workshop also hosted panels and breakout sessions on initiatives and tools that support conflict-free sourcing, reporting, and due diligence.

“EICC and GeSI have accomplished something quite impressive: convening an industry to develop supply chains that will help to reduce conflict in a part of the world that can seem far removed from the electronics that we rely on every day - to work and communicate”, said Peter Harrell, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.

Over 170 participants attended the event, which included stakeholders from entities in the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold supply chains; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); the Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Mines; the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development; the U.S. State Department; the U.S. Agency for International Development; the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe; the European Commission; the automobile, jewelry,  retail, aerospace industries; representatives from the electronic industry and many civil society and socially-responsible investor organizations.  

The workshop began with a presentation by the European Commission on the status of regulatory developments on conflict minerals in the European Union, as well as an update on the the newly issued U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rule related to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Other presentations over the course of the two days focused on the convergence and coordination of many initiatives such as the ICGLR’s Regional Certification Mechanism, the ITRI Supply Chain Initiative, the Certified Trading Chains, and the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. Furthermore, participants were able to learn about compliance and reporting tools for smelters and downstream companies including the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Program and the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template and Dashboard. Representatives of the automotive, jewelry and other industries also discussed other sectors’ perspectives on conflict-free sourcing.

The workshop likewise featured three concurrent break-out sessions, providing participants with a forum to share updates on relevant systems and tools, particularly related to the final SEC rule on conflict minerals reporting, as well as methods for gathering input from nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders. The breakout sessions included discussions on In-Region Traceability and Certification Mechanisms, the CFS Program, and Downstream Due Diligence.

The workshop also hosted two major announcements of new efforts supporting responsible sourcing. First, the London Bullion Market Association, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the EICC, and GeSI announced their mutual cross-recognition of gold refiner audits. This cross-recognition means audit efficiency for gold refiners as refiners will not have to undergo separate audits to satisfy the conflict-free requirements of each separate organization. The second announcement highlighted the launch of the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative. This pilot program plans to introduce a conflict-free tin supply chain sourcing from South Kivu in the DRC. Both of these announcements show the commitment by the industry and other partners to develop tools and resources to help companies source responsibly from the DRC and surrounding areas.

The schedule for upcoming workshops will be announced in early 2013.


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