United States: Five On Friday – Five Recent Developments That We've Been Watching Closely

Last Updated: October 5 2016
Article by Sarah A. Altschuller

It's Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we've been monitoring.

This week's post includes: the GAO's latest report on the conflict minerals rule; a civil society report on the SEC's efforts to modernize financial disclosure requirements; and an independent impact assessment of the Better Work Programme.

  • At the end of August, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released its second annual report on the conflict minerals rule. The report, SEC Conflict Minerals Rule – Companies Face Continuing Challenges in Determining Whether Their Conflict Minerals Benefit Armed Groups noted that nearly 70% of the companies that filed Conflict Minerals Reports in 2015 could not confirm the sources of conflict minerals in their products and that nearly 97% of those companies could not determine whether their sourcing of conflict minerals benefited armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries. The report highlights the significant challenges facing companies seeking to gather information regarding multi-tiered and complex supply chains. The report also noted that the U.S. Department of Commerce has not yet met its obligation to submit a report to Congress that includes its assessment of the accuracy of the independent audits of corporate due diligence efforts and has not yet developed a plan to do so. The GAO specifically noted that Commerce "did not yet have the internal knowledge or skills to conduct reviews of the [audits] or to establish best practices."
  • On September 19, more than 350 attendees, including many business leaders, gathered in New York for the annual U.N. Private Sector Forum. One year after the U.N. General Assembly's adoption of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs"), part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the event sought to encourage further private sector engagement in achieving the SDGs. In connection with the Private Sector Forum, the U.N. Global Compact launched a new "Partnership Passport," a resource intended to facilitate corporate efforts to find opportunities to partner with the United Nations, individual governments, and civil society in pursuing sustainable development initiatives. Notably, in October 2016, the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development is expected to release a paper, authored by Shift, that clarifies the relationship between the SDGs and the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  • On September 20, a coalition of organizations, including the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, the AFL-CIO, and the Center for American Progress released a joint report reviewing the comments that were submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") in response to a recent concept release soliciting views on efforts to modernize financial disclosure requirements. The report, Towards a Sustainable Economy, argues that "[i]nvestors and the public overwhelmingly seek more and better disclosures on a range of topics so that they can better support the long-term sustainability of our economy." In calling for the SEC to ensure that its disclosure reform efforts result in the production of more information on environmental, social, and governance topics, the authors note that, of the 26,000 comments received by the SEC, 10,113 referenced environmental issues, including climate change, and 9,994 referenced political spending.
  • On September 26, the Better Work Programme, a collaboration between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, released an independent impact assessment of its work to date. Better Work aims to improve working conditions and promote competitiveness in global apparel supply chains and is currently working with more than 1,300 factories in countries around the world. Researchers from Tufts University conducted the assessment, during which the assessors reviewed nearly 15,000 survey responses from factory workers and 2,000 responses from factory managers in Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Key highlights from the report include the finding that participation in the program has increased both productivity and profitability for factories, with supervisory skills training increasing productivity by 22%. The report also found that participation has had a significant and positive impact on working conditions, with Better Work's "regular monitoring of compliance with ILO standards and national legislation" playing a "pivotal role."
  • On September 27, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Melo et al. v. Drummond Company a case involving allegations that the company aided and abetted human rights abuses in Colombia through its support for the AUC, a paramilitary group. The district court had previously dismissed plaintiffs' Alien Tort Statute ("ATS") claims after finding that plaintiffs had not overcome the presumption against extraterritoriality. The appellate court found that the district court had erred in dismissing the claims with prejudice and remanded with instructions that the claims should be dismissed without prejudice, which would give plaintiffs an opportunity to refile. The appellate court remanded claims brought against two corporate executives  pursuant to the Torture Victims Protection Act with instructions that plaintiffs should either be able to proceed on those claims or the district court should dismiss "with an articulation of the basis and reasoning for the dismissal." Finally, the court similarly remanded plaintiffs' wrongful death claims with an instruction that the claims should either proceed or be dismissed with further articulation for the basis of the dismissal.

To view Foley Hoag's Corporate Social Responsibility Blog please click here

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions