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

Some of the above clarifications by the SEC still leave room for interpretation. For example, if a retailer like Wal-Mart is selling a private-label television, how does the SEC know if Wal-Mart negotiated specific design elements for that TV or not?

How this aspect of the rule will impact retailers' reporting remains to be seen. Most likely, most responsibility will be put on human rights watchdog groups and sustainable and responsible investors to note private label products and analyze if retailers will have to report on them.

This legislation and the details of the final rule are of great interest because it has the potential to impact how consumer products are manufactured.

The conflict mineral rule is a groundbreaking case study of the how legislation can play a role in supporting transparency and accountability in the supply chain.

There are still many questions to be settled about Rule 1502, but it is already clear that a new transparency paradigm has arrived. It is just the beginning, but it is here -- so the sooner companies embrace and prepare for this expectation, the better.