1504 Working Group News on Natural Resources - April 2015

Lack of ambition to stop conflict minerals

 

The Committee of International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament has shown very little ambition to effectively get rid of conflict minerals in company supply chains that produce for the European market. The MEPs of the INTA Committee refused to adopt mandatory transparency requirements throughout the supply chain of companies using minerals from conflict zones.

 

The lack of ambition of the proposal mainly emerges on three points the voluntary character of the proposed regulation and the limited scope of companies and minerals concerned. Firstly, the voluntary character: the compromise text of INTA puts forward a system of self-certification by the industry and responsible labelling of the supply chain. On the contrary, civil society as well as the left wings parties was pushing for binding standards at all stages of the supply chain. However, the INTA committees thus opted for a voluntary approach, which is more favorable for businesses.

 

Secondly, the limited company scope in unlikely to resort any significant effect on the market. As it stands the proposal would merely concern EU-based smelters and refiners, and they represent only 5% of the market. Manufacturing companies could easily opt to get their supply of minerals elsewhere, if other suppliers can offer a cheaper price for potentially conflict minerals. Therefore a binding standards throughout the supply chains of all companies using minerals, whether it concerns smelters, refiners manufacturers, traders, distributers or importers of semi-finished and finished products would be more likely to get rid of conflict minerals. Since the EU is the biggest consumer markets such standards would then also on Asian companies.

 

Thirdly, the limited material scope of the current compromise ignores many other natural resources that contribute to conflict such as copper, silver, iron ore, zinc, cement minerals, sulphur, molybdenum, nickel and precious stones like diamonds as well as coal, oil and timber. Therefore a broader material scope should be considered by the European Parliament to effectively break the link between mineral trade and conflict.

 

The compromise of the INTA-committee will be voted in plenary in May (18/05), where amendments still can be tabled. The coming weeks will be crucial for the vote. Keep an eye on the AEFJN website and twitter account, because we will launch a new campaign to influence MEPs. If you want to contact your MEPs, in particular Christian MEPs, please contact the Secretariat we have model letters that you can translate to your national language. Before contacting your MEPs, please coordinate we the Secretariat, because we should target the “non-convinced” MEPs. The secretariat can give you the names. Jon our efforts to get rid of conflict minerals!

 

Read a press article here

Background dossier AEFJN here

For lobby letters contact gino.brunswijck@aefjn.org

 

Gino Brunswijck

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