The European Union's Approach Towards Conflict Minerals: A Plea for Corporate Social Responsibility

T. Königs, S. Wahedi, Tjalling Waterbolk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The trade in conflict minerals has led to the eruption and conservation of conflicts and gross violations of human rights, in particular in the central African region. In response, various public and private entities have taken measures to counter this development. The purpose of this essay is to analyze how the European Union, in light of its promotion of corporate social responsibility, should regulate the behaviour of multinational companies dealing with minerals from conflict-ridden areas. In light of recent initiatives taken by the UN, the United States and the mineral-extraction industry, it is examined whether the EU should adopt public regulation or whether it should continue its promotion of private self-regulatory regimes. The authors argue that the EU should promote regulation at the level that provides the strongest incentive for companies to comply with their duties. This article shows that both private and public regulation have their limitations in regulating the trade in conflict minerals and that the EU should thus adopt a mix of both. In doing so, the development of transparency norms can be delegated to companies, stakeholders and other affected parties, while the EU could provide for an effective accountability mechanism to enforce these norms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-34
Number of pages17
JournalThe Dovenschmidt Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • corporate social responsibility
  • conflict minerals
  • private regulation
  • public regulation
  • European Union


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