US Chamber of Commerce accused of undermining conflict minerals regulation. So who is backing the Chamber?

US Chamber of Commerce accused of undermining conflict minerals regulation. So who is backing the Chamber?

Summary: The US Chamber of Commerce is accused of lobbying to water down regulation to control conflict minerals in the supply chain. But who is supporting the US Chamber on this?

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Global Witness has issued a press release accusing the powerful US Chamber of lobbying in the shadows to undermine upcoming SEC enforcement directives covering the control of conflict minerals in electronics industry supply chains.

This law is already catalyzing some positive changes on the ground, including demilitarization of some mining areas in eastern Congo and laudable efforts by certain companies to clean up supply chains............ Despite these efforts, the US Chamber of Commerce is working at all levels to derail the regulations and continue business as usual.

 

The Chamber of Commerce claims that it is too burdensome for companies to trace their supply chains and has argued for the rule making process to be re-started.

The US Chamber has form on opposing public policy with sustainability objectives, even to the extent that its more progressive members have had to go out of their way disassociate themselves or, like Apple, cancel their membership altogether.

On the issue of conflict minerals regulation Verizon and AT&T have themselves similarly broken cover to lobby the SEC on the record to weaken and slow down regulation. Verizon helpfully suggests:

Verizon recommends delaying the full applicability of the due diligence requirements of the Conflicts Minrerals Report until after fiscal year 2014, to allow DRC zone countries to develop the traceability protocols and related infrastructure required in order to supply to the Conflict Free Smelters. .......... we recommend that the Commission move away from the position (taken in the proposed Rules) that non manufacturing issuers who merely label products they contract for or who have 'any influence over' the manufacturing of applicable products, are nevertheless subject to the Provision. Direct and substantial over the manufacturing of a relevant product should be the test for applicability.

Similarly AT&T lobbied the SEC:

In view of our remoteness from the mines, our poor visibility of conflict minerals content (we have a scant subset of the information our OEM direct suppliers have), and the enormous number of supply chain intermediaries between us and the mines, it is surely 'a bridge too far' to draw resellers into scope.

In contrast - and to their immense credit - AMD, HP and Microsoft have gone on the record with progressive NGOs asking the SEC to implement the new rules without further delay.

So who in the industry is behind the US Chamber's lobby? Surely the companies publicly supporting regulation could not be privately sending the Chamber out to attack the process? It would be unthinkable that any company could by commission or error of omission find itself supporting both sides of this issue. And yet the uncertainty is likely to fuel demand for transparency of the Chamber's support base & motives.

When the Chamber previously set out to oppose regulation on climate change, pressure mounted on businesses to directly clarify whether or not they backed the Chamber. Watch for a similar movement to evolve to pressure companies to also disassociate with the Chamber on conflict minerals.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft

James Farrar

About James Farrar

James has more than 15 years of experience working on corporate sustainability issues from both the corporate and NGO campaigning perspective.

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  • RE: US Chamber of Commerce accused of undermining conflict minerals regulation. So who is backing the Chamber?

    Thank you for this information.
    rickexner
  • Chamber of Commerce FAQ

    Despite it's official sounding name it's a private Republican Campaign front group. Similar to the Koch brothers front groups:
    video youtube /watch?v=WFymBUsoNWY

    The video will give you an idea about where all these false talking points come from and why you have so many GOP sock puppets. 'Tea Party' group is a front of the FreedomWorks and so on.

    ----
    Look, it's simple, you work, you make new things, you create *value*. But the money corresponding to that value is created only by the Federal Reserve when it buys things (it literally magics money into being by changing the number in a spreadsheet). So it's not hard work that gets you to the top, it's having influence on that money machine. The closer you are to that gravy train, the more money made by others creating value you get.

    So Apple makes $25 BILLION in profit... but Wall street bankers will take $5 TRILLION just in bonuses:
    globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn dot com /2011/09/02/the-great-bank-robbery/

    Of course if you're rich you want to keep control of that supply, but that requires political influence, and nobody wants to vote for rich parasites, so we have these endless false front groups and 'grass roots' movements, and fake call in show guests giving fake anecdotes:

    gawker dot com/5779701/your-favorite-wacky-morning-radio-show-is-a-festival-of-lies

    [Links altered due to Zdnet comment filter]
    guihombre
    • Hey, does anyone want to audition?

      www.premiereradio dot com/shows/view/premiere_on_call.html<br><br>They are seeking auditions, and they serve shows like Hannity, Glenn Beck etc.<br>You could pretend to be one of the 1% rich who made their way up the ladder from poverty, and condemn the Wall Street protests.<br>It pays $40 for 45 minutes work, so it won't help you climb the ladder from poverty, but hey, it'll help Hannity's carreer!
      guihombre