Apple & Intel Pledge To Stop Using Conflict Minerals

Industry giants Apple and Intel have announced that they have stopped purchasing conflict minerals from war-torn Congo, a decisive move that some in the region have called “an embargo.”

Mobile technologies, like Apple’s iPad and Intel’s microprocessors, make it possible to enjoy convenience, information and connections that were only a dream a few decades ago.

Although these technologies are usually shiny and clean on the outside, few people realize the dirty and dangerous practices that are required to create them.

Rare earth elements like copper, tungsten, neodymium, dysprosium, coltan, and terbium are essential to the sophistication and battery life of advanced electronics. However, deposits of these elements are concentrated in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are at the root of many of the violent political conflicts there.

“Much of the fighting [in this area] has been funded by the extraction of these conflict minerals, and children have found themselves forced into the dirty and dangerous work required to ready these elements for export,” reports Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit.

Seeing kids as young as five were spending up to 72 hours hunched over in narrow mine tunnels, was what prompted film director Frank Piasecki Poulsen to create documentary and awareness campaign called “Blood in the Mobile” to address the extreme disregard for human and animal rights that the large mobile phone providers displayed but purchasing these minerals.

Demands from consumers and organizations prompted a coalition of manufacturers, government agencies, and non-profits to launch the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) program last December. The CSF identifies smelters through independent third party auditors who can assess that raw materials did not originate from sources that profit off off the conflict in the Congo.

Many have congratulated Apple and Intel on their decision to participate in the program, but just a little digging reveals that alternatives were limited. As Triple Pundit reports:

When the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed through the American Congress and won President Obama’s signature last July, one section buried in the bill (revealing the brilliance or madness of how America churns legislation) issued regulations to prevent the purchase of conflict minerals, effective this month. The enforcement of this prevision has been left to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which in 2012 will require companies to audit their mineral supplies to verify that any purchases were not made from vendors that have any affiliation with the conflict in eastern Congo.

While the U.S. seems to be on the right track concerning conflict minerals, other countries have yet to take a stand. Encourage Canada to do the samy by signing the petition below:

Use Conflict-Free Minerals In Canadian Electronics

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Thanks to Care2 members, the US State Department is considering implementing regulations on conflict minerals. The Care2 petition collected over 15,000 signatures. Thanks for your support!

Related Reading:

California Leads The Way On Conflict Mineral Legislation

Care2 Signatures Fight Violence In The Congo

Top Tips For Dealing With E-Waste

Image Credit: The above logos are the property of Apple and Intel.

46 comments

Emilie Potvin
Emilie potvin3 years ago

oop too long, sorry! I have the full letter on my home page if anyone wants to read the whole thing. :)

Emilie Potvin
Emilie potvin3 years ago

If anyone is interested, after I signed the petition to encourage companies to phase out conflict minerals, I received an email from Nintendo :

Hello,



Nintendo supports the sourcing of conflict-free minerals. Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Procurement Guidelines prohibit our production partners from using conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries.



We at Nintendo take our social responsibilities as a global company very seriously and expect our production partners to do the same. Because Nintendo outsources the manufacture and assembly of all Nintendo products to our production partners, we established the Nintendo Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Procurement Guidelines in 2008, which were revised in 2011, and disseminated these guidelines to all of our production partners.



Nintendo's CSR Procurement Guidelines provide specific directions to our production partners regarding socially responsible procurement practices. We implemented these guidelines based on relevant laws, international standards and guidelines that focus on protecting human rights, ensuring workplace safety, promoting corporate ethics, and safeguarding the environment. These guidelines include provisions on avoiding the use of conflict minerals and the importance of investigating the source of raw materials.



All of Nintendo's production partners have agreed to comply with the Nintendo CSR Procurement Guidelines, includin

Marcillane Basso
Marcillane Basso4 years ago

I just saw this on Chelsey Latley with Robin Write and this should be re posted formore awarness.

Laura Blake
Laura Blake5 years ago

wow

Amber M.
Amber Beasley5 years ago

AWESOME! now we need to get everyone else to stop using them!

Linda Robinson
Past Member 5 years ago

Supervision by SEC! We've seen how effectively that crew works. Good news nonetheless. Steve Jobs claimed he was "assured" his suppliers were using conflict-free materials all along. Now, apparently, Apple will need to be more than assured. Good for earth! I can love Apple again. Somewhat.

Christina S.
Christina S5 years ago

Good news! Thank you apple and thank you care2!


Hey,for Easter and Arbor day! Check out the petition I created! It is to help bring more SAFE WATER supplies to families, As well as, to generate carbon offsets thru signer participation!
 http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/SafeAirSafeWater/

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago

Good news!

Stuart S.
Kevin David5 years ago

James Fazerider says
"@Stuart S.
Didn't you take out a patent?"

Thanks James - I have had a gutful of the patent system.

The only patents I take out now are 'Patented by Smith & Wesson'

The patent system only exists to serve the patent attorney industry.

Nawang Jinpa
Nawang Jinpa5 years ago

VVVeeeerrrry interesting. It confirms a great law of nature, that everything has a cost, and using these rare minerals shows it. I will conclude for my self, and invite you all to do the same:
I will use my mobile, my computer and all high tech electronics to the last day it can be used, and will not indulge in fashion and buying the last gadget. Their actual price is simply priceless...
Thank u!