ALERT: SEC Releases Updated Conflict Minerals FAQ

The following alert was issued by RGP’s Supply Chain Practice’s Senior Practice Leader, Kevin Deely on April 8, 2014.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions and we’ll put you in touch with the Supply Chain Practice leadership in your local region.

ALERT: SEC Releases Updated Conflict Minerals Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


In a much-anticipated update to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) May 2013 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the SEC released nine new questions and answers relating to conflict minerals. To view the SEC’s FAQ page, please click here.

The release of information addressed a number of lingering questions since the initial release of the FAQ. One of the most anticipated points of clarification included how companies should treat a hybrid of ‘DRC undeterminable’ and ‘DRC conflict free’ products in its Conflict Minerals Report (CMR). The SEC said that companies can only describe products that are ‘DRC conflict free’ if the issuer determines that the conflict minerals did not finance or benefit armed groups in the region based on its due diligence. In addition, that due diligence requires an Independent Private Sector Audit (IPSA) of the CMR, for filings describing products as ‘DRC conflict free’. Key excerpts from the release include:

  • If, after exercising due diligence on the source and chain of custody of its conflict minerals, an issuer determines that at least one of its products may be described as “DRC conflict undeterminable,” is the issuer required to obtain an IPSA of its Conflict Minerals Report during the temporary transition period?

    No. The Commission stated in the adopting release that, during the transition period, issuers with products that may be described.

  • If an issuer does not obtain an IPSA of its Conflict Minerals Report because one of its products is “DRC conflict undeterminable,” may it describe any of its other products as “DRC conflict free” in its Conflict Minerals Report?

    No. An issuer is not required, under the rule, to describe any qualifying products as “DRC conflict free” in its Conflict Minerals Report. The rule defines due diligence as including an IPSA of the Conflict Minerals Report. Therefore, to be able to describe qualifying products in its Conflict Minerals Report as “DRC conflict free,” an issuer must have obtained an IPSA.

  • During the temporary transition period, an issuer has products that it manufactured or contracted to have manufactured with conflict minerals that are necessary to the functionality or production of those products. Each product is composed of a number of conflict minerals from different sources. In its Conflict Minerals Report, how should the issuer describe any particular product based upon the various combinations of conflict minerals in the product?

    During the temporary transition period, if an issuer has a product that would qualify as “DRC conflict free” except that the product contains a conflict mineral that the issuer is unable to determine did not originate in the DRC or an adjoining country, or is unable to determine did not directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in those countries, the issuer may not describe that product as “DRC conflict free.”

  • The nationally or internationally recognized due diligence framework used by an issuer may include procedures for obtaining information about a conflict mineral’s country of origin. If so, this aspect of the nationally or internationally recognized due diligence framework would encompass the reasonable country of origin inquiry requirement under the rule. In that situation, would the IPSA also include the issuer’s reasonable country of origin inquiry?

    No. The IPSA does not need to include the reasonable country of origin inquiry because, under the rule, that inquiry is a distinct step separate from the due diligence process.


The release of the updated FAQ is helpful, but still does not address a range of questions companies have before the first filing. Companies should evaluate how this new information may affect their current draft Form Specialized Disclosures (SD) and CMRs.

For additional information, please contact your RGP Client Service Director, visit or call +1.800.900.1131.  (Or contact our policyIQ team and we’ll put you in touch with the local RGP Directors in your area.)

The Results are in: Resources Annual Supply Chain Management Global Survey

supplychainyaymicroResources Global Professionals recently completed the annual global survey of supply chain leaders and executives and received over 100 responses:  70% of the responses were from publicly traded companies, and 60% were from companies that have global / multi-national operations.

The purpose of the survey was to gather key thoughts and information from these leaders, and to provide the results to supply chain management professionals as a means of understanding challenges, trends, and best practices.

The results revealed that cost containment and cost reduction continue to remain very high priorities for the coming year.  Two additional consistent responses:  First, is the desire to have technology play a key role in their transformational efforts to move away from tactical activity to a more strategic focus. Secondly, leaders are focusing efforts to ensure that sourcing decisions factor in a risk assessment analysis in addition to the traditional price and total cost of ownership model.

The complete summary of our seven major findings are:

1. Cost containment and Cost Reductions are high priority.

When we asked the question, “What are your top five challenges for the upcoming year?”  70% of the respondents selected reducing cost and keeping spend in check.  Along these same lines, we asked “How do you measure and report your organizational success?”  The three most popular responses were (a) savings realized, (b) cost reductions/containment, and (c) concentration on cost avoidance.

2. Organizational effectiveness is a primary focus. 

When asked the question “Beyond cost reduction/containment objectives, how do you measure your value?” It became clear that supply chain leaders are working hard to reduce risk and failures, ensure continuity of supply, and to gain the trust and respect of their internal customers.

3. Process improvement & technology enhancement are critical success factors to achieve supply chain excellence.

To accomplish this feat, leaders are concentrating on process improvement and using technology to move their focus away from transactional activity to more strategic initiatives.

4. Category Management and Strategic Sourcing remains the cornerstone of supply chain management organizations.  Effective supply chain organizations are being asked to investigate spend categories not previously addressed (i.e. legal, marketing, advertising, IT, facilities, etc.), and to do these strategic sourcing efforts in a collaborative manner.

5. Supplier Relationship Management & Risk Mitigation.

Are integral to supply chain contribution and effectiveness.  Leaders recognize the value that the supply base can bring to the table for their key core spend categories. Furthermore, sourcing decisions today are based not just on price and total cost of ownership, but an additional factor in the decision-tree process is that of risk assessment.

6. Inventory and Materials Management will have more focus.

This was recognized as an area of focus in 2011 and leaders continue to emphasize its importance in the coming year.  Demand Planning and Forecasting accuracy will be a target objective.

7. Contract Management plays a key role to ensure risk mitigation and compliance.

An increasing number of supply chain organizations are assuming the responsibility for contract management and this function is seen as a vital component in the success of the organization.  Effective contract management not only provides visibility into spend patterns, but also is a key contributor to ensuring risk mitigation and serves as a vehicle for compliance.

Is your organization working through any of these initiatives?  Resources Global can help!  Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the Supply Chain Management experts at Resources Global Professionals in your local region.

Easily Monitor Contract Variables, Deliverables, Milestones, Reporting Dates, End Dates and more!

I was thinking, this morning, about our Legal and Supply Chain customers who have asked us about Contract Management and how to make use of policyIQ for monitoring and compliance. Then, I was thinking about how the tools and practices for monitoring typical contracts can really apply to all sorts of agreements.

Want more info on Contract Management?
We met for a CPE web session a couple of months ago to talk about the use of policyIQ for contract management.  (Click this link to see the video recording of the session.)  While we’re talking this month about amplifying your use of policyIQ to take advantage of those features that demonstrate it is much more than a document repository, I thought I’d remind you of those actionable pieces of information that you can get to easily by using reports.

You’ve heard the saying: “Garbage in = garbage out.”
legal_supplychainIn any case where we’re highlighting the power of reporting, keep in mind that your reports are only as good as the information that you’re tracking. You not only have to be capturing the information in order to be able to report on it, but some field types lend themselves to more reliable results than others. Use List fields (Drop down or multi-select) and give authors of your content a set of choices where possible. This eliminates the data integrity issues caused by misspellings, typographical errors, abbreviations and so on.  Date, currency, and whole number fields are okay, too. Text fields are the least reliable for reporting, but they certainly do have their place and usefulness. Just think critically about what you want to get out before you decide how to lead others to put information in!

What tasks are you responsible for that require you to track down information?
Consider the information that we’re putting in and how this can be useful for producing actionable report results for all types of audiences tracking and monitoring contracts or agreements. Here’s some food for thought:

Legal – monitoring all contracts: Build a Detail Page Report filtering for all pages created from all Contract or Agreement-related Templates. These Templates might have a Drop Down field that indicates the stage of the agreement (Proposal, In Negotiation, Active, Renewal Review/Re-negotiation, Expired) or you may choose to simply Delete expired contracts and agreements so that only active agreements are returned in your Report results.  (Remember that “Deleted” pages may be reported on if you choose to select the relative Stage filter and pages will continue to reside in your policyIQ site until they are “Permanently Deleted”.)

Staffing Agreements – Report on Staffing Agreements (filter #1) with a specified End Date (filter #2) within your Department (filter #3) and be sure to include Compensation Amount as a field on the Template and within the Columns of your report to help you accurately budget resources for the upcoming quarter. Use filters to review all Staffing Agreements with an Employee Start Date in the coming 30 days so that you can ensure that they receive the appropriate New Hire Packet of paperwork.

Customer Agreements – Use filters to narrow down to your Customer Agreements and filter further to see only those with a Projected Annual Revenue over a specified dollar amount. This report will help your team to focus on your high priority customers.

Vendor Contracts – Narrow down one of your Vendor reports to those with Milestone Dates within the last 30 days and be sure to include the Deliverables or Commitments field, so that you can review and hold your vendors/suppliers accountable.

Partner Agreements – Report on Partner Agreements from a number of perspectives to 1) ensure that both parties are meeting the agreement, 2) prepare in plenty of time to renegotiate the agreement if necessary, and 3) Determine if you wish to renew the agreement upon the contract expiration date.

Maybe you already have agreements in policyIQ and are not sure how to construct the reports to get at the information that is most valuable to your team. Or, you might wonder how to build the Templates to most effectively capture the information that will lead to more streamlined management of your contracts and agreements. We have a number of people ready and waiting to troubleshoot and brainstorm with you. Give us a call: 1.866.753.1231. If you prefer, you can email us at