Editor's Note: This post, written by guest-blogger Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, orginially appeared on her personal blog.
I am not a big fan of violent video games, so clearly I’m not about to support a company that produces a product that feeds into real life armed conflict. The question is not about which company makes the most violent video games, and the X-box or Nintendo question is no longer about which has the better graphics. It’s about which company has a conscience and how much it bothers consumers that people across the world may be harmed in the making of the toy they are about to buy.
The Enough Project’s Raise Hope For Congo campaign wants to raise consumer electronics awareness in time for the Black Friday shopping frenzy. According to the Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List they have released the X-Box is the clear choice in this selection. The consumer electronics products we use daily rely on certain minerals to function, the source of those minerals in some areas fund violent conflicts that have lasted decades. Companies are aware, and some have acted responsibly to make sure the resources they purchase are not part of the problem.
I only learned the truth about Conflict Minerals when listening to Photographer Marcus Bleasdale give his incredibly powerful National Geographic presentation at the Social Good Summit in NYC this past fall. The images he showed opened my eyes to the source of elements of the very cell phone in my hand. Suddenly I was connected to those people in the photographs.
I can honestly say I never thought I’d feel the emotion of gratitude when thinking about my son’s X-Box habit, but now that I know what I know, him playing the X-Box compared to the Nintendo, is a relief. Turns out according to the research done for the rankings, Nintendo is the worst company, dead last, in terms of accountability along the supply chain. Basically, they don’t care where they get them, or who gets hurt along the way, as long as they can make and sell their products. Microsoft, the maker of the X-Box, on the other hand has a green light ranking on The Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List marking it as one of the companies that has taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts, and started to help Congo develop a clean trade.