How avoiding conflict resources can result in a more sustainable supply chain

Sean McFeely

Mcfeely Oil

The United States has, in the past 18 years, adopted certain policies to minimize the purchase and importation of conflict resources. I’d like to assess the environmental impact of these rules: Does switching to conflict-free resources result in desirable sustainability outcomes? I’d also like to examine proposed rules from leading experts on the subject and assess how they might be updated to ensure environmentally sound outcomes.

This capstone will be a derivative work of my thesis (written with Professor Lindley as my advisor), which will assess the national security implications of the rules governing conflict resources in the United States (both existing and proposed). I intend to examine the major resource groups affected by ethical sourcing rules by comparing original “conflicted” sources with the alternatives and determining the environmental impact of each.

Obviously, this is a large undertaking. I’ll start by limiting my scope to three main areas: minerals (specifically columbite-tantalite, Cassiterite, and Wolframite), diamonds, and petroleum. Conflict minerals in the United States are regulated by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whereas diamond are governed by the Kimberley Process (encoded in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56), and petroleum does not yet have a codified law regarding conflict sourcing (although numerous policies have been proposed).