A group of sustainable and responsible investors and investment organisations representing more than €855bn in assets are calling for stricter European rules on conflict minerals.
They have written a joint statement to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the member state-level European Council urging greater alignment between proposed EU conflict minerals regulation and the US Dodd-Frank Act, by making the European rules mandatory and broadening their scope to include all companies that manufacture products containing conflict minerals.
The investors argue this would create a unified international standard for conflict minerals due diligence and disclosure. Dodd Frank (“Section 1502”) aims to prevent mineral sourcing revenues from fuelling the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The statement was initiated by a group comprising SRI firms Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Trillium Asset Management, Triodos Investment Management, European and US social investment groups Eurosif and US SIF and advocacy group As You Sow’s Responsible Sourcing Network project. A full list of signatories is available below.
The statement comes as the new European Commission is set to be inaugurated and the European Parliament is scheduled to discuss the proposed regulation in December 2014.
At an event organized by Eurosif in Brussels earlier this month, Signe Ratso, a Director at the Commission’s trade department (Directorate General Trade) firmly advocated a voluntary, comply-or-explain approach.
At the same event, Judith Sargentini, a Dutch GroenLinks (GreenLeft) MEP who has campaigned on the issue, pointing to the differences with Dodd-Frank, said: “So we’re creating a non-level playing field”.
Eric Holterhues, Head of Socially Responsible Investments at Triodos Investment Management, said Dodd-Frank has turned conflict minerals disclosure in the US “from a reputation issue for a few leading brands to a multi-sector reporting requirement”.“We believe that European regulation of at least comparable strength is needed to make sure that both investors and consumers can make informed choices to avoid complicity in human rights abuses.”
Calvert Investment’s Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy, Bennett Freeman, added the lack of alignment between the European and US rules would create “a confusing double standard”.
Meanwhile, the OECD is organizing a high-level forum on responsible mineral supply chains in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo early next month. For more on this issue, see Triodos’ blog posting Conflict minerals and the Atlantic divide.
- ASN Bank
- Aviva Investors
- Boston Common Asset Management
- Calvert Investments
- Candriam Investors Group
- CHE Trinity Health Inc.
- Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church
- Domini Social Investments, LLC
- Epworth Investment Management
- Etica SGR SpA
- Hermes Investment Management
- Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
- Maryknoll Sisters
- Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.
- Natural Investments, LLC
- Responsible Sourcing Network
- Sonen Capital, LLC
- Trillium Asset Management
- Triodos Investment Management
- US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
- Walden Asset Management