United States Law and Conflict Minerals
In the past two decades there has been a movement to regulate the human rights impacts of corporate activity through disclosure-based rules. These rules require companies to gather and disclose to regulators information about their own supply chains and the materials used to make their products. Scholars and advocates argued that transparency was a powerful tool to use against a variety of corrupt behaviours by corporations and public officials. The most prominent of these regulations in the United States, the conflict minerals and disclosure of payments provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, required thousands of companies to investigate their supply chains, report what they found, and disclose payments to foreign officials in pursuit of energy deals. Since it came into office, the Trump Administration has quickly begun to eliminate these rules and abandon the U.S. leadership role in the human rights movement. In this chapter, I argue that disclosure-based regulations can be powerful tools under the appropriate conditions and demonstrate how U.S. law worked in the short time it was in effect. I also show, through the analysis of recent cases, that in the absence of U.S. rules less transparency can create the conditions for more corruption and less respect for human rights.
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