Responsibility for companies bringing minerals into the EU
Resource wealth is for many people not a blessing but a curse. The extraction of raw materials contained in our consumer goods is often linked to human rights violations, and the financing of armed conflict.
In a huge step forward, members of the European Parliament voted on 20 May to help break the links between the minerals trade and violence. They voted for a strong and binding law that would require companies bringing gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten (3TG) into the EU — in any form — to source them responsibly. These raw materials are mined in the DRC, Central African Republic and Colombia, but also in other conflict and high-risk areas worldwide.
The chance to tackle the trade in conflict minerals
We have a unique opportunity: Right now, Member States are discussing their response to the Parliament’s proposal, and whether to support a strong law. All companies that import these four minerals into the EU — whether in their raw form or within products — should be required to respect human rights and source responsibly, in line with international standards.
European Member States have an obligation Member States will have to agree together on a common Council position and decide whether they want Member States to defend a strong and effective proposal. Respective ministries in the Member States are responsible for the positions of their country and will influence the decision to support a weak or strong regulation. Once Member States have agreed a common position, the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the EU, will enter into trilogue negotiations in order to reach an agreement between the Commission’s business-friendly draft and the human rights-based parliamentary draft. The responsible Member State ministries have so far not supported a binding regulation for companies that bring these raw materials into the EU. Please ask all representatives to speak out on behalf of their country for a binding due diligence legislation that applies to any company.