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 “” (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)

chart_ranking_electronic_companies_on_conflict_minerals“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 “Getting to Conflict Free: Assessing Corporate Action on Conflict Minerals” in PDF.

Read the summary here.

Any scientists or data crunchers want to comment on the methodology of this report and quality of the data?

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, conflict minerals, human rights, human trafficking Comments Off on REPORT ON CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE DELL, INTEL, MICROSOFT, APPLE, ETC. PROACTIVE?


July 31st, 2010

I’m typing on an Apple MacBook Pro while data backups are running in the background; gigabytes of images and video are flitting from Seagate to Lacie to Netgear hard drives. I have a Belkin router, a Comcast modem…I have all the accouterments of technology I need to capture content and publish in a digital world. What I don’t have is peace of mind.

I’ve spoken about and written about this before and, increasingly, so are many others. We are talking about conflict minerals, those metals essential to the electronics industry and our everyday conveniences. These metals also pay for ongoing war and sexual violence. As a consumer, I feel powerless to affect such a global issue. But, it is becoming easier to see how our role in the killing and what we can do to stop it. Like many things, it starts with transparency and accountability, through knowledge and conversation.

Jobs_EnoughProjectApple CEO Steve Jobs, as reported by Wired, recently responded to a customer about conflict minerals in Apple products. The customer wrote:

“Are you currently making any effort to source conflict-free minerals? In particular, I’m concerned that Apple is getting tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold from Eastern Congo through its suppliers.”

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