The devastating impacts of the trade in minerals linked to conflict and human rights abuses are well documented. The EU has now the chance to regulate companies placing conflict minerals to the EU market, and the European Parliament, Council and Commission started to negotiate a compromise text in the Trilogue process in the beginning of February, 2016. However, despite the firm and progressive position of the European Parliament, which was voted in May 2015, the Council’s mandate fails to offer an effective EU response to this problem. Not only is the Council proposing a voluntary scheme and ignoring the vast majority of companies that place tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold (‘3TG’) on the EU market—whether in raw forms or within products like laptops and engines. It is also significantly undermining the leading international framework previously endorsed by the EU—the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance. In doing so, the Council is watering down the very meaning of being a responsible company.
The European NGO coalition following up the legislative process produced its response on the Council mandate.ENGLISH
Photo: Global Witness