Mining for Human Rights Performance in 2016

Companies, consultants, and human rights advocates are actively using the thought leadership and accountability in Mining the Disclosures, an annual evaluation of conflict minerals disclosure from Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN). Mining the Disclosures has been used in an array of academic, political, and economic investor analyses of how human rights performance can be measured.

Although many stakeholders use Mining the Disclosures, the primary audience is responsible investors. Through our work with conflict minerals, we continue to push for clearer links between investor decisions and human rights impacts.

Shareholders and stakeholders play a key role in changing the way business understands human rights performance. Companies can motivate suppliers to make sourcing decisions that leave the DRC and other conflict-affected regions more peaceful, free, and prosperous.

Mining the Disclosures 2016 will evaluate over 250 companies, from 25 different industry groups including Medical Devices, Aerospace & Defense, and Farm & Construction Equipment. It is scheduled for released in early October 2016.

Are most companies sourcing conflict-free?

Defining conflict-free is tricky, because we don’t want to incentivize companies to avoid sourcing from conflict-affected regions. In 2016, RSN will introduce a binary indicator of conflict-free: companies must detail efforts to eliminate conflict-affected minerals from their supply chain, while also continuing to source from within the region.

Even companies acting in good faith often struggle to trace minerals to where the raw ores are smelted or refined. Supply chains can be very complex and likely include enormous geographic, language, and regulatory gaps. By understanding the supply chain of each industry better in 2016, we hope to give credit where it is due.

Conflict Minerals show the tip of a human rights iceberg

Human rights don’t have borders. While the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule does not require companies to report on conflict-affected minerals beyond the DRC, or other human rights risks such as child labor within the DRC, it does bring the OECD’s risk-based due diligence approach to mainstream U.S. companies. In our expectations and analysis, we will continue to push companies to offer responsible investors more of the information they need — and help investors act on that information so that we can champion human rights together. 

RSN Staff