A number of major consumer electronics companies are leading the way in rejecting the use of ‘conflict minerals’ that are mined illegally and traded illicitly, according to a new report. Mobile phones and many other electronics products use gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten; minerals that may have been mined in eastern Congo by unwilling communities and then smuggled out of the country to fund the ongoing conflict.
The Enough Project, a US-based group working to end genocide and crimes against humanity, has now published a report that assesses consumer electronics companies on their progress toward responsible and conflict-free supply chains. It comes two years after a new law in the USA required companies to ensure any raw materials they used weren’t linked to the Congo conflict.
The report found that Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions and Apple had established conflict minerals programs that paved the way for the rest of the industry, while six other companies - SanDisk, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, RIM and AMD - had significantly improved their conflict-free efforts. A number of other major manufacturers were commended as well.
Sasha Lezhnev, co-author of the report and Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said “HP and Intel have gone above and beyond the call of duty on conflict minerals. It is now time to level the playing field for all companies, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has a key role to play in its upcoming vote on the rules for the conflict minerals law on August 22. The SEC should ensure that retailers and all firms that use the minerals are covered by the rules and that there is not a long phase-in period. Otherwise, the Intels and HPs will be left unfairly holding the bag for a problem that belongs to thousands of companies that have been turning a blind eye to this problem for years.”
[Full report (pdf)]