Your essential conflict minerals policy checklist

Chris McClure, Crowe; Michael Littenberg, Ropes & Gray
5/13/2022
Your essential conflict minerals policy checklist

This checklist can help organizations proactively assess their current conflict minerals policies and programs as they prepare for future filings.

2021 marks the ninth reporting year of the U.S. Conflict Minerals Rule (the Conflict Minerals Statutory Provision), and stakeholder pressures continue to mount regarding the quality of your organization’s conflict minerals policies and their integration into your overall environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy.

Now that the 2022 annual filing deadline has come and gone, it’s a good time to review and update your conflict minerals policies and program. This checklist can help your organization prioritize needs and prepare for the coming year.

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Review and update your conflict minerals policy

After reviewing your policy, your organization can ask these proactive questions to refine its overall conflict minerals program:

  • Does our policy reflect what we’re currently doing? Without regular review, policies can grow stale. Confirm that your conflict minerals policy aligns with your corporate responsible sourcing policies and practices.
  • Does it reflect our current supplier expectations? Supplier expectations have intensified, so determining what suppliers expect from your policy can help prevent misunderstanding.
  • Does it align with commercial customer requirements? Many conflict minerals policies are out of sync with customers’ needs. Make sure to review those regularly.
  • Does it sync with our supplier code of conduct and human rights policies? If you’ve created or updated these policies, you’ll want that reflected in your other ESG-related policies.
  • Does it read as an old policy? ESG is rapidly changing, so consider other policy enhancements that reflect those changes.

Refine your conflict minerals program

After reviewing your policy, your organization can take these proactive steps to refine its overall conflict minerals program:

  • Evaluate and refine your due diligence approach. Target any additions to your supplier base or existing blind spots to help make sure your due diligence is evolving – and that it’s not just “same as last year.”
  • Educate your new team members. Communicate your policies and procedures broadly and often because your program depends on quality and accuracy.
  • Refine your smelter lists. Consult with industry references and filter out any inaccurate information.
  • Identify ways to increase spend coverage in your data collection. You can also encourage your suppliers to increase their response rates to improve overall accuracy.
  • Monitor Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other sanctions and regulations. Staying abreast of changing and new regulations can help identify any additional due diligence or operational adjustments you might need.
  • Incorporate conflict minerals and other compliance requests into your business. Including these requests in supplier meetings and other business interactions can help reinforce their importance.
  • Address new concerns. Now is a good time to address concerns about Russian smelter sanctions and imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), potentially banned by the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

Taking the proactive steps in this checklist can help your organization prioritize long-range filing and policy needs and get positioned for success.

Our responsible sourcing team is here to help

As you assess your conflict minerals policy and program – or if you just need some questions answered – our team is here to help. Reach out to our conflict minerals specialists to see how we can help you prepare for next year.
Chris McClure - social
Christopher McClure
Partner, ESG Services Leader