The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes a rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products include minerals such as tungsten, tin, gold and tantalum, known as “conflict minerals” because of the violence they are accused of causing in Africa. In the finalized version of the rule, voted on by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, it looks like retailers have escaped having to comply.
In the first version of the rule, retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart that sell goods produced by outside contractors would have been subject to the requirement. In the final vote, however, the SEC ruled 3-2 that such retailers are exempt, if they don’t have any control over the manufacture of products sold under their brand name.
“It’s very important that a distinction be made between a retailer who is acting as a manufacturer and has control over what is in a product and the vast majority who do not,” said National Retail Federation Vice President Jonathan Gold in a statement. “While retailers abhor the violence in the Congo, compliance with these regulations could still be extremely difficult and there is considerable debate on whether filing reports with the SEC will make any difference.”
For more InsideCounsel coverage of Dodd-Frank, see below: