OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), a project of As You Sow, will release a report and hold a webinar revealing which major brands are failing to or are leading in adequately protecting human rights and informing investors about their conflict minerals risk. Well-known brands play an important role in an international, multi-stakeholder strategy to break the links between minerals used in the manufacture of airplanes, smartphones, and countless other items, and the funding of militias in countries such as Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where rape and mass killings are fueled by illegal minerals. Andrew Arriaga, lead author, said, "Protecting people at the heart of the supply chain is good business. With conflict minerals, we've seen some companies move from pleading powerlessness to integrating risk management into daily business practices, combining efforts across multiple industries, and creating replicable models that can address other issues, like forced labor." While leading brands proactively monitor and mitigate risk, laggards provide little evidence of good faith efforts. Berkshire Hathaway faulted suppliers for weak reporting and declined to identify smelters. In contrast, Microsoft exercised leverage with its suppliers to enforce conflict-free policies and apply pressure on smelters to perform due diligence. ExxonMobil prohibited suppliers from sourcing from the DRC region, contributing to a devastating embargo that prevents the development of a legitimate minerals trade and worsens the humanitarian crisis in the DRC. In contrast, Apple helped improve risk monitoring between mines and smelters; Phillips increased its demand for conflict-free tin sourced from within the DRC; and Boeing and GE supported research on child labor in the region. Intel continued its public campaign to support conflict-free mining in the DRC.