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OECD guidance on minerals includes disclosure of amounts paid to governments

02 Jun 2011

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (Guidance).

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (Guidance).

Its stated objective of the guidance is to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral sourcing practices. The Guidance is also intended to cultivate transparent mineral supply chains and sustainable corporate engagement in the mineral sector with a view to enabling countries to benefit from their natural mineral resources and preventing the extraction and trade of minerals from becoming a source of conflict, human rights abuses, and insecurity.

An annex to the Guidance illustrates a 'Model Supply Chain Policy for a Responsible Global Supply Chain of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas', which includes the following requirements:

Regarding the payment of taxes, fees and royalties due to governments:

We will ensure that all taxes, fees, and royalties related to mineral extraction, trade and export from conflict-affected and high-risk areas are paid to governments and, in accordance with the company's position in the supply chain, we commit to disclose such payments in accordance with the principles set forth under the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

While not legally-binding, the guidance states it reflects the common position and political commitment of adhering countries. The disclosure of payments to governments has been a vexed issue from a financial reporting perspective and is also of relevance in sustainability or integrated reporting. For instance, the IASB's Discussion Paper DP/2010/1 Extractive Activities sought constituent feedback on the so-called 'Publish What You Pay' (PWYP) proposals.

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