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This presentation centers on a "Miscellaneous Provision" in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which requires U.S. companies that use tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold in their products to disclose whether or not they are sourcing "conflict minerals" and, if so, how they are implementing supply chain due diligence. Affecting a plethora of companies from smartphone to shoe manufacturers, Bayer’s cost model has the price tag of this law at USD 8 billion for U.S.-based companies alone, a model that was largely picked up by the SEC as well as the claimants in the subsequent lawsuit against the SEC. "What, there's tin in my shoe?" you ask.
In the Congo, where the law is known as the "Obama law," the future of thousands of people – a population that has seen 5.4 million perish in what has been the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II – is, for better or for worse, affected. How does the law seem to be playing out? What, if anything, does this new legal precedent of corporate disclosure on an international affairs issue mean for sectors where systemic human rights abuses are entrenched through informal commodity extraction and obscure supply chains, such as with the palm oil (e.g. Indonesia), seafood (e.g. Thailand), cotton (e.g. Mali), and cocoa (e.g. Cote d'Ivoire) industries?
PhD Candidate Chris Bayer is an international development practitioner with ten years of work experience in Africa. As a consultant for the Payson Center, he was instrumental in designing and executing a number of research and capacity building projects in a variety of areas such as ARV management and child labor and in 2012 lectured at the American University of Nigeria. He is currently writing his dissertation on child labor monitoring in Ghana and is also substantively contributing to the discussion surrounding conflict minerals.