February 1, 2013 – February 8, 2013
The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Sanders (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

Simon Taylor: Boeing Should Stop Fighting Conflict Minerals Rule

Simon Taylor, the founding director of Global Witness, an international non-governmental organization whose goal is to break the links between natural resource exploitation and corruption worldwide, wrote an article in the San Jose Mercury News calling on The Boeing Company (Boeing) to stop fighting the implementation of the conflict minerals rule.

As discussed in our earlier blog post, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Business Roundtable filed a lawsuit against the SEC to set aside the conflict minerals rule. Mr. Taylor focuses his attention on Boeing, observing that Boeing has a seat on NAM’s board and a representative who serves as chairperson on the executive committee of the Business Roundtable.  Mr. Taylor further notes that Boeing attended many meetings and discussions during the rule-making process and submitted a formal comment expressing its opinion that the conflict minerals rule would be too costly and burdensome.

Mr. Taylor argues that as the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing can truly influence the implementation of the rule by putting pressure on suppliers in its supply chain to comply with the rule. Mr. Taylor asks Boeing to publicly denounce the lawsuit filed by the industry associations.

The Unintended Consequences of the Conflict Minerals Rule

TheRacetotheBottom.org, a blog written in collaboration between professionals, faculty, and students, maintains that the conflict minerals rule will not achieve its intended result of addressing the unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and preventing financing of armed conflict. Instead, TheRacetotheBottom.org argues that the conflict minerals rule has already “caused a de facto embargo of Congolese minerals” because companies are unwilling to deal with the rule and thus have forgone purchasing minerals from the region.  The blog concludes that this de facto embargo has led to unemployment in the region and worsening poverty. TheRacetotheBottom.org summarizes the U.N. Group of Experts Concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo report, which found that the ban on Congolese minerals has led to increased smuggling and armed conflict.

Responsible Sourcing Network: Many Companies Unprepared for Conflict Minerals Rule

Social Funds, the self-described largest personal finance site devoted to socially responsible investing, summarizes a new report by the Responsible Sourcing Network, which highlights the industry sectors that are falling behind in implementing compliance measures in regards to conflict minerals.

The report summarizes and rates the activities and initiatives of various industry sectors including automotive, aerospace/defense, food packaging, medical device, retail, apparel and footwear, tooling, and toy industries. The information and communications industry is singled out for its proactive initiative and activities addressing conflict minerals in its supply chain. The report concludes that other industries have just started to work actively toward compliance with the conflict minerals rule.

To read the entire report, see “What’s Needed: An Overview of Multi-Stakeholder and Industry Activities to Achieve Conflict-Free Minerals.”

To read Social Funds’ summary of the report, see “Many Industry Sectors Unprepared for Conflict Minerals Rule.”