February 8, 2013 – February 15, 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.
Epson – Conflict Minerals Policy
Seiko Epson Corporation, commonly known as Epson, is a Japanese electronics company and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer printers. Although Epson is not subject to the conflict minerals rule because it does not file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursuant to Sections 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, it still released a conflict minerals policy as part of its social responsibility initiative. Excerpts from Epson’s conflict minerals policy follow. “Epson is committed to having a socially responsible supply chain. Since Epson does not purchase any of the conflict minerals directly from smelters or mines, Epson has taken measures to eliminate conflict minerals from its products by working with its numerous suppliers and revising its procurement guidelines in the autumn of 2012 to prohibit the sourcing of conflict minerals. Epson continues to work with its suppliers to determine whether conflict minerals are present in its supply chain as it seeks to eliminate these minerals from Epson products.”
LogixData Poses: “Could Conflict Minerals Rule Lead to Human Rights Board Committees?”
LogixData, in its blog, posts an interesting observation regarding recent stockholder proposals as a by-product of the conflict minerals rule. LogixData states, “stockholder(s) of some companies [are] getting their proposals on companies annual meetings, hoping to create a ‘human rights committee.'”
LogixData’s blog post includes a table of companies where stockholders have initiated such proposals, the board’s recommendations of the proposals, and the voting results of such proposals, as applicable. The proxies containing the proposals for Apple and HP were filed after the SEC issued the final conflict minerals rule.
Although not mentioned in LogixData’s table, Cisco stockholders have also included a similar proposal in Cisco’s September 2012 proxy.
To see the complete blog post, including the table, please see LogixData: Conflict Minerals Requirements; Could They Lead to Human Rights Board Committees and or Policies in Companies?
European Union Under Pressure to Adopt Conflict Minerals Rule
Timothy Spence of EurActiv.com writes that “unlike the United States, [the European Union] has no law to compel corporations to disclose the sources of raw materials bought in the Congo to ensure that armed groups were not part of the supply chain.”
As of now, Mr. Spence notes, the European Commission supports voluntary initiatives of transparency. “Last year, members of the European Parliament backed a law to require companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments for oil, gas, or mineral contracts, but there is no comparable legislation on conflict minerals.” Mr. Spence concludes that “the absence of compulsory laws leaves room for abuse.”
To read Mr. Spence’s entire article, please see EU’s Soft Power in Congo Toothless on “Conflict Minerals”.
Bill H.2898: An Act Relative to Congo Conflict Minerals
Martin J. Walsh, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1997, has sponsored a bill to prohibit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from contracting with companies that the SEC has determined have not satisfied the requirements of the conflict minerals rule.
To read the current text of the bill, see Bill H.2898: An Act Relative to Congo Conflict Minerals.