Tracking conflict minerals, action on microbeads, Cuba's drive for renewables and Thai trafficker's 35-year sentence
Conflict mineral rules not working
Companies are struggling to track conflict minerals in their supply chains, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found. Under US Securities and Exchange Commission rules adopted in 2012, companies must report if products – such as consumer electronics – use gold, tin, tantalum or tungsten from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding areas. A GAO report said that in 2015, 67% of companies that reported the presence or likely presence of conflict minerals were unable to pin down exactly where they came from, while 97% “could not determine whether the conflict minerals financed or benefited armed groups”. Identifying the source of minerals is hampered by faked certification, uncertainty about the accuracy of audits and “multiple levels of processing” of minerals, bringing into question the value of the conflict minerals rules, the GAO noted.
Countries move to ban microbeads
An international consensus is forming that plastic microbeads in shower gels and face scrubs need to go the way of leaded petrol and the pesticide DDT, because of their damaging environmental impact. A US ban will start to take effect from mid-2017, and the British government said at the start of September that microbeads will...