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Lobbying: forked tongues in action

Global Witness has pointed out that some companies are lobbying both for and against dealing with conflict minerals.

While some companies that use minerals such as tanatalum and tungsten are working within industry bodies to implement the US Dodd Frank Act requirement for supply chain audit for conflict minerals from West Africa, others in industry bodies, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, appear to be doing the reverse. And even worse, some companies belong to both industry groups.

Does such apparent duplicity result from ignorance or conspiracy? In other words, is one department busy trying to improve matters while another is pushing commercial interests for all its worth? Or is it a result of a cynical attempt to generate confusion, so that the company can do what it wants unnoticed?

Neither explanation is very palatable for the companies concerned. But from the public point of view, I would rather it was ignorance – conspiracy is so much harder to deal with.

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