Full disclosure: How SEC’s conflict mineral rule could affect you

Editor's note: The Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), a project of nongovernmental organization As You Sow, has been working for years to develop global value chains at the raw commodity level that are accountable to the people and natural habitats they touch. RSN has coordinated a multi-stakeholder group of companies, NGOs, and investors in submitting joint comments to the SEC regarding conflict minerals. This is the first in a series of four pieces about the subject that RSN will be contributing to GreenBiz.

Last week’s vote by the SEC requiring companies to come clean about conflict minerals brought up a whole new set of questions: Does my company have to disclose? If so, how?

Although the law only covers four minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold – one of these minerals, tin or cassiterite, is practically ubiquitous across a range of industries.

Companies across several industries will start to see changes. New internal policies, systems, tools, and collaborations will be needed to comply with the finalized legislation. 

NGOs are already looking at how this law could be applied to other products and other regions, such as Peru where there is fighting going on over a proposed gold mine. So even if your company does not have to report to the SEC under this ruling, be on the lookout for possible future reporting requirements.

Photo of conflict-free coltan mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo courtesy of Patricia Jurewicz.

Next page: What companies will have to disclose - and how?