The U.S. financial reform legislation signed into law yesterday includes a provision requiring publicly traded companies to report on their use of “conflict minerals”—including gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten—whose trade helps fund armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

While stakeholder campaigns have focused on the use of these minerals in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, conflict minerals also make their way into a variety of other supply chains, which means the legislation is likely to affect industries including jewelry, automotive, canned goods, aerospace, energy, and others.

For companies new to this subject, BSR’s recent report identifies significant areas for action, such as:

Look for more from BSR on this subject, as we continue working with companies to define the role of the private sector in addressing the issue of conflict minerals.

  1. Supply chain responsibility, including monitoring and verification through opportunities such as the ICT industry’s supply chain transparency initiatives, which are open to non-electronics companies
  2. Government engagement to support international peace-building efforts and stronger, more accountable local governance
  3. Capacity-building efforts to encourage equitable local development initiatives and improve conditions at mines