The OECD Due Diligence Guidance provides detailed recommendations to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral purchasing decisions and practices. This Guidance is for use by any company potentially sourcing minerals or metals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. The OECD Guidance is global in scope, and applies to all mineral supply chains.
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Text of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance
This booklet contains the OECD Council Recommendation, the text of the Guidance, the 3Ts Supplement and the Gold Supplement.
The 3rd Edition of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance was published in April 2016. The updated version clarifies that the Guidance provides a framework for detailed due diligence as a basis for responsible supply chain management of minerals, including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, as well as all other mineral resources.
In addition to the 35 OECD Members, 8 non-Members, namely Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru and Romania, adhered to the Council Recommendation.
> Download an infographic on the 5-step framework for supply chains
An international standard
In May 2017, the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) 2017/821. The Regulation lays down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas in accordance with the 5 steps of the OECD Guidance. The EU Regulation will enter into force in January 2021.
The Chinese Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, based on the OECD Guidance, were adopted in December 2015 at a workshop in Beijing. The Guidelines are designed to align Chinese company due diligence with international standards and allow for mutual recognition with existing international initiatives and legislations.
The Lusaka Declaration signed by 11 Heads of State of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in December 2010 states the processes and standards of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance will be integrated into the six tools of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources. The governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda have integrated it into their legal frameworks.
In 2012, the US Securities and Exchange Commission recognised the OECD Guidance as an international framework for due diligence measures undertaken by companies that are required to file a conflict minerals report under the final rule implementing section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank legislation. The US Department of State endorses the Guidance and encourages companies to draw upon it as they establish their due diligence practices.
The United Nations Security Council resolution 1952 (2010) supports taking forward the due diligence recommendations contained in the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo final report, which endorses and relies on the OECD Guidance. Numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Democratic Republic of Congo – 2389(2017), 2360(2017), 2339(2017), 2293(2016), 2262(2016), 2198(2015), 2136(2014) 2078(2012) and 2021(2011) – and on Cote d’Ivoire - 2219 (2015), 2153 (2014), 2101 (2013) cite the OECD Guidance and encourage all States, particularly those in the region, to continue to raise awareness of the due diligence guidelines, and to stakeholders in the supply chain to exercise due diligence.
The due diligence guidance in a nutshell
Industry programmes based on the Guidance
Although individual companies bear the primary responsibility for implementation of due diligence, industry actors have developed a series of programmes specifically focusing on the smelting / refining stage, which has been identified by relevant stakeholders as the ‘choke point’ of 3TG supply chains. Five of the leading programmes have been assessed for their alignment with the Guidance and are currently undergoing revisions based on the recommendations of the assessment. These programmes together account for over 90% of gold refining, 95% of tantalum and 85% of tin production.