Telephone : 01908 041 464 | Email :
Quick Jump

Conflict Minerals and Supply Chain Management

Conflict Minerals

In today’s interconnected global economy, businesses source materials and components from various regions worldwide. However, this global supply chain comes with its own set of challenges, including the risk of supporting armed conflicts and human rights abuses in certain regions. The issue of conflict minerals has gained prominence as a critical concern in business compliance and responsible supply chain management.

In this article, we will delve into what conflict minerals are, their impact on communities and the environment, and how businesses can fulfil their compliance obligations while promoting ethical practices in their supply chains.

If you want better management of your Compliance Obligations, sign up for ISO Compliance Registers here.

conflict minerals

What are Conflict Minerals?

Conflict minerals refer to certain minerals and metals, such as tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (often referred to as 3TG), which are sourced from regions of the world characterized by ongoing armed conflicts, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation. These minerals are critical components in a wide range of industries, from electronics to aerospace and jewellery.

What is the problem with Conflict Minerals?

The extraction and trade of conflict minerals have been linked to funding armed groups and perpetuating violence and instability in regions like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its neighbouring countries. Rebel groups and militias often control mines and smuggling routes, exploiting local communities, and using the proceeds to finance their activities, which exacerbates social and political unrest.

Moreover, the mining of conflict minerals is often associated with severe environmental damage, including deforestation, water pollution, and soil degradation. These activities not only harm ecosystems but also pose health risks to nearby communities.

How do conflict minerals affect business Compliance Obligations?

Several international initiatives and national laws have been established to address the issue of conflict minerals and encourage responsible sourcing practices:

  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Section 1502 of this U.S. legislation requires companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose their use of conflict minerals sourced from the DRC and adjoining countries.
  • European Union Conflict Minerals Regulation: Adopted in 2017, this regulation aims to prevent the financing of armed groups and human rights abuses by imposing supply chain due diligence requirements on importers of 3TG minerals into the EU.
  • OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides guidelines for businesses to conduct due diligence in their supply chains to identify and mitigate risks associated with conflict minerals.

How can my business promote ethical practices in Supply Chain Management?

To comply with these regulations and promote ethical practices in supply chain management, businesses can take the following steps:

  • Supply Chain Mapping: Identify the source of minerals and materials used in products by working closely with suppliers and conducting thorough supply chain mapping exercises.
  • Risk Assessment: Assess the risk of conflict minerals entering the supply chain by conducting due diligence on suppliers and mining practices.
  • Supplier Engagement: Collaborate with suppliers to establish responsible sourcing policies and provide support for improving mining practices and working conditions.
  • Third-Party Audits: Engage reputable third-party auditors to verify compliance with responsible sourcing policies and guidelines.
  • Transparency and Reporting: Maintain transparency by regularly disclosing information on supply chain due diligence efforts and progress made in sourcing conflict-free minerals.

The responsible management of conflict minerals is not just a legal obligation; it is a moral imperative for businesses. By actively engaging in ethical supply chain practices and fulfilling compliance obligations, companies can play a significant role in promoting peace, stability, and sustainable development in regions affected by the trade of conflict minerals. Embracing responsible sourcing practices not only safeguards a company’s reputation but also contributes to a more equitable and just world for all. As stakeholders demand greater accountability, businesses must take proactive steps to ensure that their supply chains remain free from the stain of conflict minerals.