November 25, 2012 – December 2, 2012

TheCorporateCounsel.net Provides Its Survey Results on Preparing for Complying with the SEC’s New Conflict Minerals Rules

TheCorporateCounsel.net asked companies a few questions to determine how far along in the process they were in complying with the SEC’s new conflict minerals rule. Questions included: (1) Who is responsible for conflict minerals compliance? (2) Do you currently expect that you will be required to file a Form SD? (3) If you manufacture or contract to manufacture products and conflict minerals are only contained in your packaging, do you anticipate concluding that packaging is necessary to the functionality or production of your products?, and (4) How far along are you in preparing for conflict mineral compliance?

TheCorporateCounsel.net also recently highlighted the Squire Sanders interactive flowchart, which provides big picture guidance, definitions, and examples with accompanying release citations to help companies navigate the conflict minerals rule, release, and SEC flowchart.

Conflict Minerals in Your Mobile – Why Congo’s War Matters

A recent story on CNBC’s website provided the background and purpose of the new Conflict Minerals Rule – nothing new here. More importantly, however, it highlighted a study that was released on October 25, 2012, which concluded that approximately 90 percent of firms so far have not produced the data, declarations, or documentation that will help fulfill regulatory requirements detailing the presence of such minerals in their supply chains.

Opinion: Conflict Minerals Not Fueling M23 Rebellion

An African organization that aggregates and indexes content from over 130 African news organizations publishes an opinion analysis online asserting that longstanding institutional and governance weaknesses of the Congo’s central authorities is the root cause of the regions instability and conflict – not conflict minerals. As you may recall, the main purpose of Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank is to reduce the use of conflict minerals, which in turn, will help reduce funding for armed groups contributing to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its surrounding area.

SEC Small Entity Compliance Guide on Conflict Minerals Published

On November 13, 2012, the day the Conflict Minerals Rule (the “Rule”) became effective, the SEC published its small entity compliance guide for the Rule. This step simply fulfills the SEC’s obligation to publish a small entity compliance guide to assist small entities with the Rule. The SEC has not provided additional guidance nor has it made changes to the Rule since the August 2012 Release.

Duke University Students Advocate Avoiding Use of Conflict Minerals

Last year, Duke students successfully pressured the University’s Board of Trustees to adopt an investment guideline that requires Duke to scrutinize the supply chains of electronics companies in which they invest. Students are now looking to partner with other schools in the region to increase awareness and action surrounding the conflict in the Congo.

Opinion: The SEC’s New Role as Diplomatic and Humanitarian Watchdog

This article scrutinizes the legislative history and lobbying efforts behind the conflict minerals provision and concludes that, unlike the majority of the Dodd-Frank bill, its goals are moral and political, rather than financial. The article argues that the presence of conflict minerals in a company’s product is not inherently material information, and that the Dodd-Frank provision statutorily renders non-material information material. The provision, therefore, expands the SEC’s role beyond its congressional mandate of protecting investors and ensuring capital formation by requiring issuers to engage in additional non-financial disclosures in order to meet the provision’s humanitarian and diplomatic aims.

Inside the Clash for Congo’s Mineral Wealth

Rebel victories in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding areas have been significant setbacks for the global efforts to control conflict minerals. For years, major electronic companies such as Motorola and Intel have worked to establish systems for tracking minerals and certifying them as “conflict-free” – allowing them to be sold legitimately in retail stores in North America and elsewhere. These efforts, however, have been significantly hampered by the rebel advances in the past six months. The resulting rapid growth of mineral smuggling routes from Congo to Rwanda has wrecked the certification and tracing processes of many companies.