The European Parliament today adopted a report on conflict minerals, drafted by Green MEP Judith Sargentini. The report comes at a crucial moment, with the European Commission set to present proposals on conflict minerals next week. Commenting after the vote, Judith Sargentini said:
"MEPs have today delivered a clear and timely message on the need for robust binding EU rules to tackle the problem of conflict minerals. With the EU Commission set to present proposals on conflict minerals next week, we hope it will heed today's vote and bring forward the strongest possible legislation. Voluntary projects will not do the trick: we need binding rules covering a comprehensive list of natural resources and not just a narrow list of minerals.
"Transparency in the supply chain is crucial for preventing conflict minerals from turning up in our consumer products, like phones, laptops and other electronic goods. To this end, meaningful EU rules need to ensure that all companies in the supply chain (from the mine to the end-consumer) should be obliged to comply with OECD due diligence standards. This means investigating their supply chain in order to determine that they do not contribute to conflict. This needs to be backed up with tough sanctions for non-compliance.
"The extraction of minerals and resources in developing countries should lead to development and the improvement of the lives of their societies at large; it should not be used to fund or fuel conflict. The phenomenon of conflict minerals is now well-known and we have plenty of evidence to act. There can be no excuses. We hope the Commission will take account of today's vote and ensure its proposals are as tough as possible."