Claudia Saller (ECCJ), Julia Otten & Johanna Kusch on why the German government should give the mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence agenda a real push, both at home and in Brussels.
Artisanal gold mining in Colombia is associated with the financing of armed conflicts. The adoption of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation in 2017 has raised attention to respective challenges. One of the world's largest gold smelters, the Swiss smelter Metalor, has consequently withdrawn from small-scale mining business. However, as the following study argues, the link between artisanal gold mining and the financing of armed conflicts in Colombia is much more complex. At the same time, small-scale mining faces criminalization by national legislation. A general boycott of this sector by major smelters can further marginalize the artisanal mining sector in favor of international mining companies. At the same time, the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation excludes many serious human rights violations, such as violent expulsions and massive environmental destruction by large mining companies destroying the livelihoods of local populations.
Colombia is one of the countries categorised as a conflict region by the EU Regulation on Responsible Sourcing. This paper will take a closer look at gold extraction in Colombia in the context of the violent conflict and human rights abuses taking place there. From there, the paper will present recommendations directed towards the implementation of Accompanying Measures of the EU Regulation on Responsible Sourcing in Colombia, as well as additional measures needed to diminish the levels of conflict and human rights violations in this sector.
Over 20 leading NGOs working on corporate transparency have published a statement calling on EU policy-makers to define companies’ disclosure obligations on sustainability issues on the occasion of today’s high-level conference on the future of corporate reporting hosted by the European Commission in Brussels.
This paper analyses the current governance framework concerning mineral supply chains of electronic devices.
This is about ten years after leading IT companies began in 2007 to fund research to investigate the impact of mineral sourcing for IT devices, which established a connection between their products and human rights abuses.
Coolproducts, a coalition of environmental NGOs, with the support of over 30 stakeholders across Europe and beyond (including Germanwatch), urge Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, to regulate smartphones by 2021 with requirements that will make smartphones more energy efficient and more durable, repairable and recyclable.
This executive summary of the report by Germanwatch and MISEREOR is all about energy – a sector that is inextricably linked to globalisation and is associated time and time again with human rights violations. The study explores the question of whether and to what extent German business and the German Government have implemented the demands of the UN Guiding Principles to date.
As development and human rights organisations we participated intensively in the German government’s consultation process for developing the National Action Plan (NAP) for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: in the government’s steering committee, in the altogether twelve thematic hearings and in the three plenary conferences. In this context, we expected the government to move away from the failed model of purely voluntary self-commitment and legally require German companies to discharge their human rights responsibilities in their activities and business relationships abroad.
The European Union has taken a positive, but half-hearted, step towards cleaning up Europe’s trade in minerals. EU legislators concluded their negotiations on a new law on so-called ‘conflict minerals’—a Regulation which is meant to ensure that minerals entering the EU do not finance conflict or human rights violations. Certain EU companies will, for the first time, be legally required to take responsibility for their mineral supply chains and to take steps to prevent their trade being linked to conflict or human rights abuses. However, a string of concessions and last-minute loopholes could undermine the Regulation’s impact, as they exempt a large number of companies from the law.
Together with 126 civil society organzations we are calling on the Council to listen not only to the European Parliament, but also to the many activists, investors, civil society, and citizens that have called for a strong and effective EU law. At a minimum, this means a regulation that covers companies that import into the EU minerals in their raw form as well as companies that import products containing these minerals.