The National Retail Federation filed a brief with an federal appeals court that contends retailers should be exempt from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “conflict minerals” rule—a move that would mean big names like Tiffany and Signet would no longer have to comply with its rules on gold sourcing.
The NRF’s friend-of-the-court brief was filed on Sept. 18 with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C, which is considering the challenge by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to the SEC rule passed last year to implement a provision of the 2010 financial reform law. A lower court struck down the groups’ initial challenge.
The rule carries out Sect. 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. That provision directs the SEC to create rules mandating that public companies declare in their SEC filings whether they source “conflict gold” from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries. That requirement is set to take effect next year.
But in a statement, the NRF argued that applying the rule to retailers “makes no practical sense.”
“Manufacturers and retailers have fundamentally different functions in the commercial world,” it said. “A manufacturer, by definition, must know about the materials and parts that go into its products. [Retailers] have little more ability to learn about and control the source of their components than a consumer who custom orders furniture.”