Yesterday, the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) Against Conflict Minerals, convened by RSN, had a face-to-face meeting with Special Envoy to the region, Russ Feingold, at his office in Washington D.C.
Following up on a call with former-Senator Feingold in February, the MSG focused on promoting incentives to purchase minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Specifically, the group discussed ways to avoid creating an embargo effect on the region due to the increased due diligence requirements on companies mandated by Dodd-Frank Section 1502. Some end users and smelters have decided to avoid the region all together as their strategy toward risk management. However, other companies are committed to sourcing conflict-free from the DRC and using their leverage to help bring peace to the region.
The two main incentives promoted by the MSG included government procurement preferences and a mechanism to acknowledge and reward companies sourcing conflict-free from the region. In addition, encouraging cross-border tax and tariff harmonization in the Great Lakes Region was discussed as a way to minimize smuggling.
During the face-to-face meeting, the MSG also stressed the importance of establishing peace and accountability in the region. This multi-stakeholder meeting with Special Envoy Feingold was critical in linking diplomatic engagement to corporate practices as diplomacy and responsible supply chain sourcing are two sides to the same coin. After all, conflict-free minerals will not be available in large quantities until there is a conflict-free Congo.
The MSG plans to continue its interaction with Mr. Feingold to strengthen the multi-stakeholder and industry conflict-free sourcing initiatives in the DRC. Simultaneously, the promise of increased economic development and revenues from responsible mining will support the Special Envoy in his priorities of bringing stability, democracy, and peace to the region.