Big Retailers Escape Conflict Minerals Rule (WSJ)

Products sold under a retailer’s brand but produced by outside companies will be exempt from disclosure.

Big retailers including Target and Wal-Mart will not have to deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rule about disclosing the use of conflict minerals, the Wall Street Journal reports. While an earlier version of the rule would have applied to companies that sell products produced by outside contractors under their own brand, Wednesday’s SEC vote spared companies that don’t directly control the manufacture of their brand-name products.  The Dodd-Frank provision mandates that companies disclose their use of minerals like tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Most generic products sold by big retailers will not be subject to the rule. However, if companies have any involvement in the manufacturing of the product under their brand, they could still be governed by the rule, according to the SEC. Representatives from Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Costco, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Target met with SEC  officials to voice concerns over the rule, according to SEC records.

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For more on the conflict minerals rule, see Conflict Minerals Could Be Costly.

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