Conflicting Messages Re: Conflict Minerals Management

Posted by Maurica Burke on Tue, Jun, 18 2013 @ 11:13 AM

The Securities and Exchange Commission caught many companies off guard when they decided to adopt the final rule on conflict minerals management for all goods sold in the United States, but why is the apparel and footwear industry finding it so difficult to conform to the new laws?  Is it because of the insufficient guidance from the SEC or the fact that traceability of minerals in softlines isn’t as easy as it sounds?  Both are true and now the industry is working on both ends of the problem to reach a solution. 

The 2006 cinema thriller “Blood Diamond” staring Leonardo DiCaprio exposed the atrocities in war-torn African nations like Sierra Leone where revolutionary armies are forcing children and adults alike into slavery to mine precocious minerals to finance their conflicts against each other and the ruling government. While the movie was popular and riveting, most Americans don’t think of these ongoing civil wars when hitting the malls for new clothes and shoes. 

But now that conflict minerals are at the forefront of the retailers list of challenges, they are hoping for a “final rule” from the SEC and solutions for tracking down the most minute details of each buckle, rivet and zipper in their supply chain. 

As of today, the SEC guidance requires companies to ensure that they take specific measures to exercise due diligence to trace whether each article they sell in the US or abroad, contains conflict minerals (Tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold mined from or supporting conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the surrounding nations).  Although retailers have been doing a great job for years managing compliance they are now facing a new era.  As the prevalence of factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh serve as a catalyst for change, so too will the conflict minerals ruling force new processes to take place.

The ruling on conflict minerals is somewhat complex and requires collaboration and planning across the entire supply chain. ecVision understands how the final rule can impact the product life management cycle and provides solutions to ease the process towards achieving quality, compliance, and accountability standards on a global scale. We recently hosted a free webinar with our partners at the American Apparel & Footwear Association and UL discussing the SEC Ruling on Conflict Minerals and how it has created unprecedented complexity across the entire supply chain.Download the webinar and listen in as we discuss the relevant points you need to know to address Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act on “conflict minerals”. 

Topics: Supplier Management, Supplier Compliance Questionnaires

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