A US appeals court has ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cannot compel firms to declare their products rely on raw materials sourced from war-torn parts of Africa.

The SEC regulations are designed to help end the sale of minerals that have funded conflicts in and around the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have killed more than 5.4 million people since 1998. Helping to fund the violence has been the sale of gold and the minerals used to produce tin, tantalum, and tungsten. These metals are used inside electronic components in phones and laptops, as well as in vehicles and jewellery.

Tuesday's legal ruling was made in a case bought by three trade bodies, including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) - which represents 14,000 companies - including many IT hardware vendors.

The group challenged requirements under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law - which requires firms to make efforts to audit their supply chains and be more transparent about where they source gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten from.

The NAM argues this SEC regulation could cost manufacturers $9 to $16 billion to implement, while not achieving the intended objective.

Source: TechRepublic - see full article