The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering rolling back a rule that helps protect wildlife like critically endangered Grauer's gorillas from the effects of illegal mining operations.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), illegal mines have been run by local and foreign armed militia groups, and often involved forced labor and the exploitation of children. Some of these mines operated in and around the country's national parks, harming many endangered species, including endemic okapi, Grauer's gorillas, and eastern chimpanzees, who are being poached as a source of protein for miners and militia members.
The Dodd-Frank Act directed the SEC to produce a rule that requires U.S. companies to report on the specific source of the minerals that originate from the DRC, ensuring that U.S. consumers—just like you—have a guarantee that their phones, computers, jewelry, and other everyday purchases are not fueling death and destruction for people and wildlife in the DRC.
And since the rule was issued in 2012, there has been improvement. The most recent published data collected by the International Peace Information Service indicates that 21 percent of 3T miners worked at sites experiencing interference by armed groups in 2013-15, down from 57 percent in 2009/10 – huge progress for citizens of DRC and wildlife. In just four short years, real progress has been made in getting the guns out of mines and getting the mines out of parks. As a result of this rule, buyers can purchase conflict-free minerals with confidence. This process not only boosts local economies, but also deters corruption and political instability. That's why the DRC government expressed support for the rule in a recent letter to the SEC.
But despite the success of the rule and widespread support in the DRC, the SEC is considering rolling it back. If the rule is repealed and the lawlessness returns, it could be a blow the critically endangered Grauer's gorilla can't survive.
Let's take a stand for the Grauer's gorilla and other irreplaceable species by pledging to be conflict minerals free. As consumers, we are powerful. We can demand that the products we purchase don't come with an added cost to endangered species.
By taking (and sharing!) this pledge, you can show the SEC and the companies and investors they regulate that there is a HUGE demand for products that are conflict minerals free.
Use your consumer power to save wildlife today: pledge to be conflict minerals free!