Editor's Note: This post was co-authored by Annie Callaway and Sasha Lezhnev.
Two new developments in the conflict-free movement took place this week. First, Intel launched a major web hub to spread awareness about the issue of conflict minerals and to help move solutions forward. The web hub offers information and resources for companies and consumers alike who are working towards creating a fully conflict-free minerals trade in eastern Congo. With interactive features such as a map of “The Conflict Mineral Journey” and a diagram outlining the important roles tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold each play in our daily electronics, the website provides an overview of the problem and offers further resources for consumers and companies to do more. As stated on the site:
Once informed, no one is OK with this situation. With the facts, we become more powerful citizens and consumers. Please join our mission to raise awareness and drive action to build the momentum behind the movement.
Meanwhile, Enough introduced a new consumer action to demand that electronics and other companies work to build fully conflict-free products and source clean minerals from Congo. Over the past five years, activists, governments, and corporations around the world have made significant progress in reducing funding to armed groups in Congo who profit from the trade of conflict minerals. However, there is still much work to be done, as gold continues to fund some armed groups and others continue to smuggle 3T minerals.
Take action now:
Tell Your Tech Company: “Make Your Products Fully Conflict-Free with Minerals from Congo”
As a consumer, you can influence industry leaders as they make two critical decisions: whether or not to go the full nine yards and make a verifiably conflict-free product, and whether or not to source conflict-free minerals from Congo. If they take those steps, they will help change the business environment in eastern Congo away from a war economy and toward a legitimate minerals trade that can improve conditions for Congolese communities. Your voice matters in helping them make the right choice.
Send an email to the largest conflict mineral end-user companies.
Actions by companies from the electronics and other industries can tighten audit systems, thus making it tougher for armed groups to profit from minerals. At the same time, if end-user companies demand that suppliers source clean minerals from Congo and the region, then conflict-free trade will increase, resulting in positive contributions to Congolese communities and a crowding-out of the conflict mines. The Solutions for Hope 1 and 2 projects and the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative have proven that local communities benefit from the increased security and better working conditions that come from such programs.
Intel is one of the corporate leaders in the conflict-free movement, and they continue to invest in spreading the word to the public. In January 2014, Intel announced that all of its microprocessors are now conflict-free and contain clean minerals sourced from Congo. Since the announcement, other companies have indicated their intentions to create fully conflict-free products. However, this is not a problem that will be solved if only a few leaders decide to act. The electronics industry as a whole, as well as other industries such as jewelry, aerospace, and automotive must take the necessary steps to clean up their supply chains and source in a conflict-free, responsible manner from Congo. Intel recognizes this need for collaboration, which is why they have included resources on their web hub that other companies can use to get started.
For years, consumers have called on companies to make their products conflict-free from Congo. With growing consumer consciousness and a student movement that has reached over 160 campuses, attention on conflict minerals has never been higher, yet many companies are still dragging their feet when it comes to taking steps to become conflict-free.
Visit our Take Action page to learn more and send a message to companies telling them you want fully conflict-free products made with clean minerals from Congo. Take Action Now >>