At the OECD-UN-ICGLR GoE Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, May 26–28 in Paris, IPC Director of Government Relations and Environmental Policy Fern Abrams spoke on conflict minerals due diligence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Addressing representatives of national governments, companies and civil society, Abrams highlighted challenges faced by SMEs conducting due diligence on conflict minerals in their products.
According to Abrams, both large companies and SMEs face significant challenges in conducting due diligence. Whereas lack of information from suppliers was identified as a key difficulty by both large and small companies, SMEs also reported lack of clear requirements and lack of resources as key impediments. In addition, SMEs were more likely to report handling due diligence inquiries through direct letter communication instead of using more sophisticated electronic systems such as Excel and database inquiries.
Abrams’ presentation was part of a session on due diligence and SMEs, which was moderated by Dr. Gudrun Franken of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in the German Government. Other conference sessions included regulatory updates from the EU Commission staff, implementation updates, public reporting on due diligence, Dodd-Frank conflict minerals reporting and auditing, refiner and smelter due diligence and auditing, child labor, as well as conflict minerals issues in the Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Columbia.