"The Dodd-Frank Act...
"...means that all American-listed companies must ask each of their suppliers whether they use minerals from the region and if so, do they distinguish between conflict-free materials and not such. Even the SEC, the body charged with overseeing this process, estimates that this will cost $4bn."
So, Tim, exactly *how many* American-listed companies would this affect?
Well according to www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/dodd-frank-series/Documents/dodd-frank-and-conflict-minerals-rule-q4.pdf it will be "about 6,000" which averages out at around $666,666 (nice number) per company if spread evenly (yes, I know it wouldn't, but it puts it in a little more perspective, doesn't it?)
Given the sizes of the major players involved I'd guess they'd end up paying more than that, but I'd think this is likely to be an entry under "other expenses" on their books. The smaller companies with only a few suppliers would, of course, be paying an awful lot less anyway.
More importantly, however, is the fact that most people aren't even *aware* of the issue of Conflict Minerals, but if we start saying to chip manufacturers etc "hang on, maybe there's anothe way of sourcing these minerals *without* chucking money into a warzone", they may start to realise that there's a PR benefit too which, naturally, they will trumpet, thus encouraging other manufacturers to follow suit.
So is Dodd-Frank *really* such a bad thing? Or is it only because it affects your bottom line?