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Connecting Disclosure with Value: SEC Adopts Rule Requiring Payment Disclosures for Conflict Minerals

Civil society should not accept conflict as a means of economic advancement and a collective consciousness of human rights violations can punish the bad actors and reward the good ones

Submitted by: Joe Sibilia

Posted: Aug 24, 2012 – 09:32 AM EST

Tags: dodd-frank, voluntary disclosure, supply chain, conflict minerals, sustainability, governance, wal-mart, target, csrwire


By Joe Sibilia

Get ready for the complaining, positioning and arguing to begin.

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) finally adopted the rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requiring resource extraction issuers to disclose certain payments made to the U.S. government or foreign governments.

We’re also going to be busy managing news and editorials sure to be forthcoming from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, especially when their video awards are announced and the visuals bring the facts to your screen. 

Over 3.5 billion people live in resource rich countries. Most of them are not seeing or experiencing the benefits of these natural resources with poor governance and corruption often leaving citizens suffering from conflict, wars, abuse and slavery. 

These rules requiring disclosure will change the landscape forever.  And voluntary disclosure will affect valuation

Lives will be saved and good companies will be worth more. Extracting natural resources from colonized territories has been happening since the dawn of history. This is the first time that business, governments and warlords will be held accountable for extracting natural resources through conflict, demonstrating the evolution of the human condition. 

Civil society should not accept conflict as a means of economic advancement and a collective consciousness of human rights violations will punish the bad actors and reward the good ones.

Of course, looting and brutalizing communities in the name of business is not a new story. King Leopold’s ghost still reigns in the Congo today. This story makes for an interesting look back in history for a horrifying example of what happens to a community when extractive industries and governments conspire to maximize profit.

Many of our members have been watching this drama unfold and a number of coalitions have been formed to address the challenges facing these communities. Some companies including Wal-Mart and Target have also lined up to avoid disclosing their conflict minerals products in their retail chains and succeeded in escaping the rule. However, it's only a matter of time before the consumer begins to reward transparent supply chains.

With consumer demand remaining the cardinal rule in retailers' rule books, this Rule will eventually lead retailers to voluntarily disclose where they source their products. It’s not the 20th century anymore. We're no longer simply boycotting companies doing business in South Africa that support apartheid. Today, there is a whole new depth of information available. Add social media and Voluntary Disclosure to the mix and you have the recipe for real change.

It's happening. We at CSRwire are on the front lines. The tide is finally coming in with some clear water. Stay tuned for an empowering decade.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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