The European Parliament has today approved new legislation aimed at tackling the problem of conflict minerals by ensuring companies source responsibly. For the first time in Europe, firms involved in the extraction and trade of minerals will be legally obliged to check their supply chain to ensure there are no links to armed conflicts or human rights abuse.
Commenting on the outcome, Green development spokesperson Judith Sargentini said:
“This legislation is a huge step toward bringing an end to the problem of conflict minerals. For the first time in Europe, firms involved in the extraction and trade of minerals will be obliged to check whether their supply chain has connections with armed conflicts or human rights abuses, and to take action where problems are found. We are pleased to have secured binding legislation, where the European Commission and Council were originally content to allow companies to undergo a voluntary self-certification. This can also serve as a positive example of corporate responsibility legislation which can be replicated for other sectors and producers, such as palm oil.
"Some loopholes remain in the final legislation. The majority of downstream firms, who process minerals to produce final products like smart phones and tablets, will remain outside the scope of this legislation. We would like to see the Commission resolve these remaining issues at the next possible opportunity. The EU has tremendous market power, and should leverage this to the fullest possible effect in the battle to break the link between the minerals trade and conflict.”