With 2014 now behind us, the ability to voluntarily opt out of conflict minerals reporting is also gone. After numerous companies declared themselves “DRC Conflict Undeterminable” in 2014 per federal allowance, many corporations will have to grapple down this year and get ready for the stress and confusion that comes with this process
Yet abiding by this socially responsible policy is a great thing, for it allows companies to be pioneers in the field of CSR, setting precedent for the future of other socially conscious policies alike. These internal audits create a completely transparent process, which gives the consumer the value in knowing how many minerals from conflict-ridden areas are in their product, if any at all.
What can we learn from 2014 in improving conflict minerals reporting?
Looking back on this past year, there are many things we can learn from regarding conflict minerals reporting. One major thing we can take away from this past year is the fact that significantly more companies will be disclosing their reports next year, alongside improving their RCOI and OECD Due Diligence data reporting. Why will this be? Beginning this year, large companies will no longer be able to opt out of conflict minerals reporting, which means mass amounts of translating and aggregating smelter data will have to be done.
1) Increased Audit Readiness
In order to get ready for the upcoming 2015 cycle, companies will continue to be using internal auditing systems in order to understand and be prepared for the full Independent Private Sector Audits (IPSAs). As the new cycle approaches, suppliers will be pushed to conduct internal audits in order to assure readiness procedures regarding audits and attestation to one’s findings.
2) D.C. Circuit Court Ruling Could Effect Conflict Minerals Legislation
In April 2014, the United States courts upheld a regulation that requires corporations to provide the country of origin product labeling, as a result of American Meat Institute v. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Due to some of the language regarding this ruling, the SEC is seeking to appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in which they argue that the phrase “not been found in the DRC conflict free” violates the first amendment. It is still unknown how this will effect conflict minerals legislation, if at all, but it is worth keeping in the back of your mind.
3) European Union Proposed Conflict Mineral Legislation
This past year, the European Union passed similar legislation to that of Dodd Frank regarding conflict minerals reporting. Unlike the latter though, the European Union’s proposal utilizes a voluntary stipulation for reporting. In the end, what’s useful to gather from this is that this legislation is unlikely to have any effect on current conflict minerals policy.
The past year has offered valuable lessons that should serve as the foundation for your future reporting endeavors. As a relatively new field, conflict minerals reporting is bound to lead many to want to give up in confusion and frustration. At CSRware, we strive to help you manage your conflict minerals auditing from the actual application to general advice like this. Set up a demo with CSRware today and see how you can achieve your sustainable goals!