March 6, 2017
Dear Commissioner Piwowar,
I am writing to urge you to continue the implementation of the Conflict Minerals Rule. It is saving lives, and this is important to me.
When I was teaching my students about conflict minerals in 2010-2012, the situation was dire. Supply chains were opaque. Profits from conflict minerals were routinely diverted to fund civil wars and armed conflicts. People were dying because of minerals that were necessary in products I counted on in my everyday life.
The Conflict Minerals provisions of the Dodd-Frank law, as implemented in the commission's rule, have dramatically changed this situation. For example, according to an October 2016 study by the International Peace Information Service, 79 percent of miners at tin, tantalum, and tungsten mines surveyed in Congo now work at conflict-free mines. I don't know how you could ignore this study and make changes based on anecdotal "evidence" that is not supported by independent evaluations such as this one.
As a consumer, it is important to me that I am able to access key information about the companies I purchase from, including information about their conflict minerals sourcing practices. I do not want my purchases to support violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Conflict Minerals Rule makes it easier for all consumers to assess which companies are taking steps to ensure their products are not linked to this decades-long conflict. Furthermore, transparent supply chains are an important indicator of a company's overall stability, which is a key factor for making both purchasing and investment decisions.
I urge you to keep the Conflict Minerals Rule fully intact, and to work with your fellow SEC commissioners to enforce the Rule vigorously.
Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.