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Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of dollars every year by trading conflict minerals. These minerals are in all our electronics devices. Government troops and militias fight to control the mines, murdering and raping civilians to fracture the structure of society.
Locals in mining communities are forced to take part in the illicit mining economy. Money earned from the sale of conflict minerals is used for personal profit and to further violent causes.
Minerals are smuggled out of Congo through neighboring countries, then shipped to smelters around the world for refinement. Once minerals are processed in this way, it’s difficult to trace their origin. Conflict minerals easily make their way to the U.S. and all over the world in consumer products.
We must work together to bring about an end to the trade in conflict minerals. Together, we must create a demand for responsible sourcing for minerals from Congo. Learn more about the Enough Project’s certification campaign.
The Dodd-Frank Legislation
As a part of the U.S. Government's Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, signed into law in July 2010, Section 1502 requires American companies to ensure the raw materials they use to make their products are not tied to the conflict in Congo, by auditing the mineral supply chains.
The Dodd-Frank Act’s provision, signed into law in July 2010, requires companies to trace and audit their supply chains in order to ensure their products are not financing atrocities occurring in eastern Congo. Through this legislation, the U.S. Government will lead the way to making due diligence in minerals supply chains mandatory.
The Dodd-Frank Act provides the commercial leverage to catalyze reform. The U.S. Government can use its convening power to bring together companies, regional governments, and NGOs to fix loopholes in the certification system, develop a monitoring system, and use diplomatic leverage to generate political will to implement it.
As one of the principle drivers behind Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the Enough Project is often questioned regarding the legislation’s effects on U.S. companies and Congolese society. Go here to read Dodd-Frank FAQ’s.
Just like buying organic produce, Fair Trade coffee, or not buying blood diamonds, consumers should be able to shop for conflict free electronics (read our Company Rankings). We at the Enough Project believe the Congo needs a system of certification, in addition to the Dodd-Frank legislation’s tracing and auditing provision, to ensure that electronics products are not financing atrocities in eastern Congo.
The value of a certification regime is that it would guarantee standards when companies or governments on their own cannot. A legitimate certification system must function as a shared ownership partnership between governments, the private sector, and civil society.
Components of a Certification System:
- Due diligence where companies work with their suppliers to verify the smelters in their mineral supply chain.
- A conflict free smelter program that enables third party validation of a smelter’s sourcing practices and a determination of whether its sources are conflict free.
- An in-region mineral certification system that enables the traceability and certification of minerals mined in the DRC.
Raise Hope for Congo
Raise Hope for Congo aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists who will advocate for the human rights of all Congolese citizens and work towards ending the ongoing conflict in eastern Congo.
Go to Raise Hope for Congo's website
Conflict-Free Campus Initiative
The Conflict-Free Campus Initiative is a nation-wide campaign to build the consumer voice for conflict-free electronics, such as cell phones, laptops, and other devices that will not finance war in eastern Congo.
Get involved with CFCI
Be a responsible consumer. This annual report serves as consumer guide for 15 leading global electronics companies and ranks each company on its energy use and emissions, green products, and sustainable operations.
Find out more