In a previous post, we discussed smelter/refiners lists in conflict minerals reports (CMRs). In this post, we broaden the discussion.
Last year, definitive information on smelter/refiner names and locations was severely lacking. Early efforts at using the CMRT for collecting smelter/refiner names resulted in many non-smelters/refiners being listed by suppliers, so EICC/CFSI initiated their “verified smelter/refiner” listings. “Verified” is not the same as audited; “verified” means that the CFSI has simply confirmed that the location is a legitimate smelter/refiner operation. Further, the CFSI list represented only those facilities identified within the electronics supply chain, and therefore did not represent all smelters/refiners globally. This point was communicated in the heading of the Standard Smelter Names tab of the CMRT. The CMRT version 3.02 (November 7, 2014), lists 279 verified smelters/refiners.
For the CY2013 filing, issuers arguably could make a reasonable interpretation that any processing facility name not verified by the CFSI was not definitively a smelter/refiner and therefore did not need to be reported. As a result, many issuers listing smelters/refiners in their CMR included only those facilities that were either CFSI audited or verified* (and within the electronics supply chain only).
In September 2014, the Department of Commerce published their report – DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS UNDER SECTION 1502(d)(3)(C) OF THE DODD-FRANK ACT, WORLD-WIDE CONFLICT MINERAL PROCESSING FACILITIES. In this report, Commerce stated “…to our knowledge, the attached list is the most comprehensive list to date of all known processing facilities in the world.” Approximately 450 processing facilities are listed – about 170 more than are CFSI verified or audited.
For CY2014, we don’t believe issuers can take the same approach to omitting smelters/refiners as last year. Since the Commerce list is considered by US Government to be the most comprehensive list to date of all known processing facilities in the world, it may no longer be reasonable to omit facility names using the argument that they can’t be confirmed as a smelter/refiner.
In other words, if your CY2014 smelter/refiner list is limited to ONLY processing facilities that are CFSI audited or verified, your disclosure may be incomplete (unless CFSI audited/verified facilities actually do make up 100% of the names provided by your suppliers).
Recently, we have seen some draft smelter/refiner lists for CY2014 filings that were incomplete because they omitted any facility name that was not on a CFSI list. The logic behind these was based on CY2013 data availability and is no longer valid in our opinion.
If your list of smelters/refiners (either in your CMRT or Conflict Minerals Report) contains only facilities with a CID number, we suggest you review your supplier data and confirm this is indeed accurate. Otherwise, we recommend that you list all supplier-provided facility names that are included in the Commerce list, regardless of their status with CFSI.
And don’t forget to conduct research into the countries of origin used by those facilities.
* Of the 1300 filers for CY2013, only 18% included a smelter/refiner list in the CMR.