In January 2017, CBIS engaged in a robust conversation with the Siemens Head Of Regulatory Compliance for Conflict Minerals regarding the company’s due diligence and monitoring on its conflict minerals sourcing from smelters and refiners. Siemens reported that it is very active with the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative, which is working to expand its audit protocols to assure compliance will met to the new EU law. While Siemens demonstrated that it is closely working with the leading industry initiative on the sustainable sourcing of minerals, the company falls behind peers on its transparency through disclosure of performance. CBIS encouraged Siemens to increase its disclosure of progress on ensuring its supply chain is free from conflict minerals.
In July 2016, CBIS requested a meeting with Siemens, which supplies products, systems and solutions on energy management, and building and manufacturing technologies, to better understand how its intends to comply with a new EU conflict minerals rule. The rule calls on companies to report on their mineral sourcing practices based on a new set of performance indicators under development.
The mining of certain minerals (including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) have been linked with funding multiple human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict zones. These minerals can enter multinational companies’ supply chains as they manufacture products such as jewelry, laptops, mobile phones and cars.
The implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (Section 1502) in 2010 ushered in significant progress in the development of traceability and certification mechanisms to distinguish “conflict-free” mines from those that continue to finance armed groups and promote violence. While increased traceability and transparency have led to a reduction in the number of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (3TG) conflict mines in eastern Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring regions remain in a state of armed conflict.
In June 2016 the European Parliament provisionally agreed to a reporting mechanism that would be mandatory for those that import the minerals and metals as raw materials into the EU, and request voluntary disclosure from other companies, like those whose finished products may contain conflict minerals (i.e. Siemens.) The regulation would cover all conflict regions worldwide, unlike Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which requires declarations of conflict minerals only from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjacent countries.