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California Leads the Way on Conflict Minerals Legislation

California Leads the Way on Conflict Minerals Legislation

On the heels of U.S. Congressional action to address Congo’s conflict minerals, California recently became the first state to consider legislation to regulate companies doing business in Congo. Last Friday, California Senate Majority leader Ellen Corbett introduced groundbreaking legislation that would require companies seeking procurement contracts with the state to comply with federal law to exercise due diligence on their supply chains to avoid supporting conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the broader Great Lakes region of Africa.

Specifically, SB 861 requires companies that file a disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the conflict minerals in their products, to meet federal standards. If adopted, the California legislation would deny companies procurement contracts with the State of California for failing to meet the requirements of the rules promulgated by the SEC.

Last July, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. Section 1502 of the act requires companies that use minerals sourced from Congo or adjoining countries in their products to exercise due diligence on the origin and chain of custody of the minerals. The federal legislation requires companies to publicly report on efforts to ensure that their supply chain isn’t funding armed groups.

Both pieces of legislation aim to divert funds from the profiteers of war in the eastern Congo that have cost over five million lives. The mining of tungsten, tin, tantalum, (the 3Ts) and gold in the eastern region of Congo has long been funding armed groups and criminal networks within the army who often control mines and trade routes.

As the home of the majority of the nation’s technology firms, which use the 3Ts and gold in their products, California is a key player in the battle for conflict-free minerals. It is a hopeful sign that the state is leading the way and reinforcing the message the Dodd-Frank Act has sent to companies: that they must take responsibility for their products to ensure that they aren’t perpetuating war in Congo.

This post was originally published by the Enough Project of the Center for American Progress.

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Photo courtesy: ENOUGH Project
Written by Talia Samuelson, an Enough Project blogger

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7:26AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

@Susanne R.: Well maybe SB 861 is setting a higher standard for compilance than the minimum required under Federal law? And California state contracts might potentially be quite lucrative - ergo, this legislation to try and make sure they are awarded to more ethical companies.....

10:53PM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

The petitions are at the Enough Project:

This post was originally published by the Enough Project of the Center for American Progress.

Read more:

5:44PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011


9:53PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011


1:02AM PST on Mar 6, 2011

Good to read about one ethical practice being introduced.

8:57PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

I am sick of all these buy-one -get-one-free phones- there should be increased charges to ensure that the batteries are made from conflict-free minerals.

7:29PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Kudos to Senator Corbett for her compassion and foresight. Legislation that requires companies to comply with federal law shouldn't be necessary. The companies who profit from the acquisition of these minerals shouldn't have to be reminded of their lawful and moral obligations --especially when you consider the consequences of non-compliance.

The people of Congo suffer enough. It's nice to know that our government is looking out for them.

6:26PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Karen & Edward O.:

Read paragraph three; California is only strengthening what Obama signed into law.

Kudos to California!

8:29PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Thank Goodness for California. One of the few bright spots and progressive beacons in the nation.

6:32PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Thank you for being California again.

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