The term Conflict Minerals refers to the minerals of 4 essential metals for any economy (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) that come from conflict areas, leading to breaches of human rights, exploitation of labour and possible funding of armed groups.
In 2010, the United States passed a law (Dodd-Franck Act) which, among other things, requires all publicly listed US companies to track the origin of the 4 metals in question contained in their products in order to prove that the procurement of these materials took place in full compliance with the law and with human rights.
This provision may have serious repercussions also for EU suppliers of US companies, which are required by their customers abroad to ascertain the origin of the metals contained in their products, by tracking the entire procurement chain all the way up to the foundries, for example, that obtained the metals in question.
The EU has implemented a law that has similar objectives, albeit different content, Reg. (EU) 2017/821.
The management of conformity with these regulations may be very complex for a company, since it requires closer dialogue with all its suppliers and may concern the most diverse products, including commonly used ones (e.g. electronic products, mechanical components etc.). However, assuring compliance with these regulations through sound company management may turn into a powerful commercial advantage.