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

Here are the basics on which companies will have to disclose:

  • Companies that currently file an annual report with the SEC (whether they are US or foreign).
  • Companies using any amount of of one of the four minerals in their products (draft versions of the rule considered setting a de minimis), or minimum amount a company would have to be using, but the final rule requires all companies to report.
  • See RSN's product category chart at the bottom of this page for guidance on products that include product minerals (not a comprehensive list).
  • Companies who work with plastic of PVC should take note since organo-tin has been identified in trace amounts as a stabilizer in those materials. Apparel and footwear companies should investigate their products carefully.
  • Companies who work with one, two, or all four minerals – all are treated equally. Reporting on gold is no different than tin, tantalum, or tungsten.
  • Companies that manufacture, or contract to manufacture, products containing these four minerals must disclose. 

           -The way the SEC defines “contracting to manufacture” translates into the company needing to have a degree of influence over the design or manufacturing of the product.

           -Retailers do not have to report on products they sell from another brand

           -If a retailer has a private label product for which it does not supply design elements, and therefore the retailer is only    affixing its name on "generic" products (which other companies can also sell), the retailer will not have to disclose.

           -Similar to retail, if a cell phone provider has its name on a phone manufactured by another company and the cell phone provider does not specify design elements, it will not have to disclose.

          -Companies that determine its minerals do not originate from the region of the DRC, or that their minerals are from recycled or scrap sources, will still have to disclose. They will have to outline their process for making those determinations in a document called a Form SD, but will not be required to file a full Conflict Mineral Report.

          -Mining companies do not have to report

Products that contain conflict minerals (Source: Responsible Sourcing Network)

Next page: Room for interpretation on new SEC rules