In a surprising turn of events, last week, the European Union voted 402 to 118 to pass a law requiring companies to certify to the government that the minerals they source do not fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses, a piece of legislation that parallels –and improves on -- the US Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.
A law proposed by the European Commission on responsible sourcing of minerals is not strong enough to prevent European companies’ mineral purchases from financing conflict or human rights abuses, and falls far short of expectations, campaigners said today.
Instead of putting forward robust legislation that would require a wide range of EU-based companies to do checks on their supply chains – known as due diligence – the Commission today announced voluntary measures that will only apply to companies importing processed and unprocessed minerals into the European market. The proposal covers companies involved in the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold sectors. The campaigners warned that the Commission’s proposal – an opt-in self-certification scheme available to a limited number of companies – is likely to have minimal impact on the way that the majority of European companies source natural resources.
A coalition of 59 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is calling on the European Commission to pass a strong law to prevent European businesses fuelling conflict and human rights abuses through their purchases of natural resources, such as tin, gold and diamonds. The call comes ahead of draft legislation due to be published by the Commission by the end of 2013.
This group of 58 European and global non-governmental organisations calls on the European Commission to adopt legislation requiring European business entities to conduct supply chain due diligence in order to ensure that they do not contribute to conflict financing or human rights abuses in the production and trade in natural resources.