|Everence is working with other investors to encourage companies to find ways to use conflict-free minerals in the production of electronics and other goods. Photo by Sasha Lezhnev for the Enough Project.
Everence addresses the conflict mineral trade
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, miners – including children – are forced to work through the use of rape and violence. The reason for the oppression: the extraction of minerals essential in the manufacturing of our most common electronic devices.
These so-called “conflict minerals” include tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, and are regularly found in gadgets we use every day, such as laptops, DVD players and cell phones. The minerals are mined in situations involving armed conflict, brute force and human rights abuses – and the profit made from the sale of these minerals finances and fuels continued violence that has claimed millions of lives in eastern Congo.
With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act last year, U.S. companies will be required to trace and disclose their possible exposure to conflict minerals. Some of the country’s largest companies, however, are pushing back on the new requirements, claiming that tracing mineral sources is nearly impossible due to the complicated and entangled nature of their global supply chains. Other companies, however, are proactively addressing their mineral sourcing.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is charged with writing the rules which companies must follow to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act. Everence and other socially concerned investors are providing input to drafts of the rules, to ensure the requirements are strong and within the spirit of the Act’s intent.
Everence is also in conversation with U.S. companies about the use of conflict minerals in products, and how the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act can help these companies find new ways to do business while also caring for our global neighbors.