Governing responsible sourcing: Transnational Hybrid Governance of Conflict Minerals

Julia Panzer

Student thesis: Master thesis


Governing responsible sourcing is a key topic on the global agenda. Over the past decade, civil society campaigns highlighted the connection between value chains of transnational corporations and human rights issues. Private actors started to cooperate in multi-stakeholder and publicprivate partnerships to tackle these issues as they go beyond traditional state regulation. Moreover, public actors seek to explore new ways of regulating and influencing companies’ behavior beyond the borders of their jurisdiction. Governance actors have proliferated and traditional state governance has developed into transnational hybrid governance (THG). This thesis specifically researches transnational hybrid governance of conflict minerals. Conflict minerals are tungsten, tantalum, tin, and gold (3TG) sourced in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. To tackle the sourcing of conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a major producer, a recent wave of public regulation in the US and the ongoing negotiations on a regulatory scheme for companies in the EU add to the timeliness of this thesis. However, public actors show differing approaches to governing conflict minerals. Therefore, this study looks at THG of conflict minerals, interactions between the public, private, and civil society actors, and the coherence of the two main public regulators, the EU and the US. By utilizing THG theory and frameworks to analyze the interactions and coherence of tools of the respective governance actors, the thesis discusses the enforcement capacity of the current THG of conflict minerals, informs THG theory and gives recommendations to improve the current governance of conflict minerals. Qualitative interviews with representatives of all three types of governance actors contextualize the findings of European automotive companies’ due diligence activities as displayed on their corporate websites. The key finding of this thesis is that public-public coherence in transnational hybrid governance is crucial in order to increase the enforcement capacity of the entire THG. It further demonstrates that the concept of the shadow of the state is working. Therefore, the EU draft regulation should focus on a coherent public-public regulatory scheme with its US counterpart to leverage the incentives for private actors to engage in responsible sourcing.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages93