Retailers Exempt from SEC Disclosure Rule on ‘Conflict Minerals’

While companies like Sony, Nintendo and many other are being called out for their use of "conflict minerals," a new SEC policy about disclosure of these materials being funneled out of the Democratic Republic of Congo will apparently not affect retailers.

According to the Huffington Post, because of lobbying efforts, major retailers like Target and Walmart will be able to hide the connection between the products they sell and where the resources to make them are coming from: a war-torn African country being controlled by military groups.

The rule finalized on Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission requires public companies to disclose if the products they sell contain "conflict minerals" from the Congo. Retailers would have been part of that equation – which was based on the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. But a loophole has been added to let those who "sell" but don't "make" these products avoid any kind of disclosure.

Despite the loophole, retailers say that they are very wary of the new SEC rule.

"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," Jonathan Gold, National Retail Federation vice president for supply chain and customs policy wrote 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.”

Source: Huffington Post

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