Background. Armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have controlled many of the region’s mines or transit routes and have engaged in armed conflict, as well as some of the world’s worst human rights violations. Concern that proceeds from the mining of minerals have been used to fund extreme violence in that region led to a requirement in the U.S. Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law of 2010, that U.S. publicly-traded companies must disclose any "conflict minerals" necessary to the functionality or production of products they manufacture or contract to manufacture. The conflict minerals are tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (called the 3TG’s). Companies using conflict minerals must also disclose their supply chain inquiries to verify whether these minerals originated in the DRC or adjoining countries.
On August 22, 2012, the SEC approved the final rule on conflict minerals. All public companies must evaluate their product lines to determine whether they contain necessary conflict minerals and if so, file a Form SD by May 31 annually beginning in 2014, for products they manufacture or contract to manufacture in the year 2013. While the burden of compliance is on the public companies who manufacture those products, members of their supply chains for those products are also impacted.
Text of the U.S. Conflict Minerals Law
Conflict Minerals - SEC Small Entity Compliance Guide
Text of the final Conflict Minerals Rule - Fed Register
3M’s Conflict Minerals Policy. 3M deplores the violence in the DRC and adjoining countries and is committed to supporting responsible sourcing of conflict minerals from the region. Accordingly, 3M has adopted a conflict minerals policy, as part of 3M’s Supply Chain Policies: EHS, Transportation, Labor/Human Resources and Supplied Materials. 3M expects its suppliers to adopt a similar policy and to meet the expectations set out below.
3M Supply Chain Policies, including on Conflict Minerals
3M’s Expectations for Suppliers.
Supply “DRC Conflict Free” materials. Under 3M’s conflict mineral’s policy, suppliers are expected to supply materials to 3M that are “DRC conflict free,” which means either: 1) any 3TGs necessary to the functionality or production of supplied materials must not directly or indirectly fund armed conflict in the DRC or adjoining countries, or 2) any 3TGs must be from recycled or scrap sources.*
Adopt conflict minerals policies. Suppliers to 3M must adopt a policy regarding conflict minerals consistent with 3M’s policy, implement management systems to support compliance with their policy and require their suppliers to take the same steps.
Send surveys to their suppliers, and complete 3M’s survey. 3M suppliers are expected to pass the CFSI public Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (link below) to their suppliers and successively upstream until the smelter/refiner is identified. The survey information must then be passed back down through the levels of the supply chain to 3M’s direct supplier, who then can complete 3M’s internet-enabled version of the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template linked from this Supplier Regulatory eEnablement (SREE) website.
Important Note: Contacted suppliers are asked to complete both Parts 1 and 2 of 3M’s survey as instructed in the covering e-mails.
CFSI public Conflict Minerals Reporting Template for use by 3M’s suppliers with their supply chain
Conflict Free Smelter program, smelter lists
Extending Support. 3M is a member of the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), an industry-wide initiative to develop practices and control systems regarding smelters and refiners through independently validated audits under CFSI's Conflict Free Smelter (CFS) program. 3M encourages its suppliers not already members to join the CFSI. Increased participation throughout supply chains will strengthen collaborative efforts to increase leverage on smelters and refiners to join the CFS program and thereby become validated as DRC Conflict Free.
3M encourages its suppliers to responsibly source 3TGs from the DRC and adjoining countries through smelters and refiners validated as DRC Conflict Free through the CFS or similar programs.
Link to CFSI website: http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/
For more information on 3M Sustainability and Conflict Minerals, including a link to 3M's Form SD and Conflict Minerals Report, see Working With Suppliers.
* Conflict minerals are from "recycled or scrap sources" if they are from recycled metals, which are reclaimed end-user or post-consumer products, or scrap processed metals created during product manufacturing. Recycled metal includes excess, obsolete, defective and scrap metal materials that contain refined or processed metals that are appropriate to recycle in the production of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and/or gold. Minerals partially processed, unprocessed, or a "bi-product" from another ore are not included in the definition of recycled metal. Item 1.01(d)(6) for Form SD, 77 Fed. Reg. 56274, 56364 (Sept. 12, 2012).