Responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict-affected areas: Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment

05-12-2014

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high risk areas. Armed groups and security forces in conflict regions partly finance their activities from the proceeds of the extraction and trade of minerals. These products later enter the global supply chain, meaning that business operators further down this chain are at risk of supporting armed activities through their purchases of mineral ores or their derivatives. Business operators from the EU and third countries have therefore expressed an interest in sourcing responsibly from such regions. The concept of responsible sourcing is not new and the proposal builds on existing international due diligence frameworks. The document concludes that the overall quality of the IA is good; however, it is regrettable that the wealth of core information included in Annexes is not fully exploited in the analysis of the policy options and possible impacts. More readily available synthesis and analysis of data could have been presented in the body of the IA for better readability. Finally, it should be noted that the usefulness of some options, for example, Options 1 and 2, is not clear, as the comparison tables (on pp. 62 and 63) show that few of the declared objectives could realistically have been met by these options. This note, prepared by the Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit for the Committee on Internal Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament, analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact Assessment Guidelines, as well as additional factors identified by the Parliament in its Impact Assessment Handbook, appear to be met by the IA. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal. It is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the relevant parliamentary committee(s) and Members more widely in their work.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the proposal setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high risk areas. Armed groups and security forces in conflict regions partly finance their activities from the proceeds of the extraction and trade of minerals. These products later enter the global supply chain, meaning that business operators further down this chain are at risk of supporting armed activities through their purchases of mineral ores or their derivatives. Business operators from the EU and third countries have therefore expressed an interest in sourcing responsibly from such regions. The concept of responsible sourcing is not new and the proposal builds on existing international due diligence frameworks. The document concludes that the overall quality of the IA is good; however, it is regrettable that the wealth of core information included in Annexes is not fully exploited in the analysis of the policy options and possible impacts. More readily available synthesis and analysis of data could have been presented in the body of the IA for better readability. Finally, it should be noted that the usefulness of some options, for example, Options 1 and 2, is not clear, as the comparison tables (on pp. 62 and 63) show that few of the declared objectives could realistically have been met by these options. This note, prepared by the Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit for the Committee on Internal Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament, analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact Assessment Guidelines, as well as additional factors identified by the Parliament in its Impact Assessment Handbook, appear to be met by the IA. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal. It is drafted for informational and background purposes to assist the relevant parliamentary committee(s) and Members more widely in their work.