Although Paul Dewar’s Conflict Minerals Act is important for helping turn off conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are good commercial reasons for the bill too. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which developed due diligence guidelines for conflict minerals, benefits include:
- Knowing and showing that the company is not supporting conflict;
- Assuring buyers that a company has carried out all the steps and taken measures to prevent or mitigate the risk of contributing to conflict and associated serious human rights abuses in accordance with international standards; and
- New business opportunities and responsible, long-term buyers for a company’s minerals as trust in its due diligence builds.
In other words, pursuing conflict-free status is good for business because consumers are looking for it. There are costs associated with due diligence, but it’s outweighed by the benefits.
One major company working toward conflict-free status is Intel, which as a section of their website dedicated to the issue. Although the company is required to implement due diligence measures due to recent reforms in American law, there was nothing requiring them to promote the fact that they are doing it, but they’re doing it anyway because having a reputation for ethical sourcing helps business. Promoting it also puts pressure on other countries that Intel competes with to do the same. As more companies put due diligence into practice, the more Canadian companies will be expected to follow suit.