“Blood Phones” Awareness Provokes Tech Companies to Raise Material Standards

Where technology corporations formerly neglected the origin of their materials, they are now responding to advocacy to limit the use of “conflict minerals” mined in the the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten from the Congo are bought by tech companies to use in phones and other electronics, but these metals provoke violence in an already war-torn region. The battle isn’t over yet, but with a new rating system publicly reporting use of conflict minerals, companies like Intel, Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia are improving their ethical use of metals.

From the article: 

… Experts say these “conflict minerals” help fuel one of the world’s deadliest conflicts. An estimated 5.4 million people have died there from war-related causes, including disease and malnutrition, since 1998, according to the International Rescue Committee.

But according to a report released Thursday by the Enough Project, an advocacy group, metals from the Congo are getting less bloody.

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That’s thanks in part to the fact that tech companies like Intel, HP, Dell, Microsoft and Apple have made efforts to trace the source of metals used in their devices. An auditing system for smelters, the industrial facilities that process raw metals, also has been put in place. A certification system is in the works that would allow companies to certify some metals from Congo as “conflict free.”

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