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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Source Intelligence on Mineral Traceability

Mary Mazzoni headshotWords by Mary Mazzoni
Leadership & Transparency
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Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

On August 22, 2012, the SEC issued a final rule on conflict minerals in accordance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The rule requires companies to disclose annually whether any conflict minerals -- tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo or an adjoining country -- are necessary to the functionality or production of a product. If these minerals are deemed necessary, as defined by the provision, companies must provide a report describing "the measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of those minerals." Each report must include an independent private-sector audit.

Outside of the jewelry you'd expect, these minerals are used in a wide array of products, including the beloved technology many Americans now consider to be essential to their way of life. In fact, some estimates suggest that at least half of all SEC issuers will be impacted by the regulation.

June 2 was the first filing deadline for registrants to comply with the SEC's conflict minerals rule -- which sent the Web into a flurry about how companies were handling the requirement. While disclosing the presence of conflict minerals may sound simple, most companies had to complete rigorous supply chain investigations in order to discern where minerals came from in the first place. This challenge begs the question: If companies don't know where minerals come from, how are consumers supposed to make informed decisions about the products they buy? And, perhaps even more importantly, how can we hope to eliminate conflict minerals -- and other minerals mined in socially or environmentally irresponsible ways -- from store shelves?

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Tristan Mecham, director of product development for Source Intelligence, will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about minerals traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

To get the conversation started, we have a few questions of our own:


  1. What are the biggest barriers you face in creating end-to-end traceability in the minerals industry?

  2. How has technology changed the game in terms of monitoring inventory? What technology do you think is most promising for offering an end-to-end solution?

  3. Imagining that every business at every step of the minerals supply chain has technology in place to monitor their stock in and out; what else is needed to achieve whole-chain traceability?

  4. What strategies or initiatives have been useful in making progress towards better traceability in the minerals industry? Are there any examples or initiatives you can point to that have had some success?
Check the comments section below for Tristan's answers to our questions, and don't forget to ask your own! The Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

Image credit: Source Intelligence

Mary Mazzoni headshotMary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Mazzoni’s recent work can be found in Conscious CompanyAlterNet and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia.

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