December 14th, 2010
The Enough Project released a report today on consumer electronics companies and conflict minerals mined in eastern Africa.
The Enough Project is evaluating tech companies as they begin the process of tracing minerals to their source. Following a previous post, I had an email exchange with “firstname.lastname@example.org” (which may have been the man himself), where the respondent said:
“We are looking into it. It’s not clear how to trace the minerals so as to know their origin. We are working with a few world-class universities to see if we can trace them. The supply chain appears too porous to control through auditing.”
Why is this important? Jonathan Hutson, Communications Director with Enough Project wrote:
“Minerals…in our everyday consumer electronics, are used to fund militias in the Congo that rape and kill thousands of civilians…Our company rankings let consumers know which products are moving toward conflict-free status.” (below chart courtesy Enough Project)
“While some companies,” Hutson wrote, “such as HP, Motorola and Intel, have made some progress towards using conflict-free minerals, we found that the industry as a whole is way behind the curve to become compliant with the Frank-Dodd financial reform act and the upcoming SEC regulations on conflict minerals.” (see Section 1502, Conflict Minerals)
Responsible sourcing has been done with the apparel, forestry, and diamond industries. Not for every company, but at least consumers can now make an informed choice. I think tracing minerals is a necessary step toward ending conflict and I, as a consumer, would pay a premium for conflict-free.
Read the summary here.
Any scientists or data crunchers want to comment on the methodology of this report and quality of the data?
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!