Earlier today in Strasbourg, after nearly three years, EU negotiators reached final agreement on a new Regulation setting up a Union system of responsible sourcing of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG). Intel supports the establishment of an EU that breaks the link between the sourcing of minerals and armed conflict, and that is set up at the right point of the supply chain, focused primarily upstream and based on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. We also welcome the fact that the new law complements existing regulation and industry initiatives such as the the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), London Bullion Market Association Gold Standard (LBMA) and the Responsible Jewellery Council Certification Programme (RJC).
The EU legislation covers all so-called “Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas” (CAHRAs), not just the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding countries of the Great Lakes Region in Africa covered by the US Dodd Frank Act. For the time being the rules govern 3TG, but flexibility has been built in to include more minerals and human rights issues in line with the OECD over coming years.
Having a strong framework is a good start, but in order for the EU system to be fully effective it needs to be implemented properly. This will ensure that tangible benefits occur on the ground in conflict zones in order to help local communities. Strong accompanying measures are required to complement the EU Regulation. This is why Intel decided to become one of the founding strategic partners of the multi-stakeholder European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM). This partnership becomes operational shortly and will bring together governments, civil society groups and industry to increase the proportion of responsibly-produced minerals from conflict zones and to support socially responsible extraction of minerals that contributes to local development. The EPRM is designed to foster knowledge leadership and help SMEs conduct due diligence; expand existing initiatives; help define CAHRAs; plan and execute effective in-region projects; and encourage other downstream industries that have 3TG in their supply chains to step up and play an active role.
There is much work to do, but we look forward to working with the EPRM to continue driving more responsible sourcing.