Apple and Intel will soon boast “conflict-free” gadgets and laptops. The two tech companies joined the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, a voluntary project by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition requiring third-party verification that the processing plants where the companies purchase their materials don’t source minerals from the DRC.
Conflict diamonds are not the only blood-stained mineral that funds armed groups and human-rights abuses in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Also mined there are tungsten, tin and tantalum – rare minerals vital to the U.S. electronics industry.
The move comes in advance of federal legislation on the topic that take effects next year and could prove to be publicly damaging to companies that don’t act preemptively. Under the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed by President Obama in July, U.S. companies will be required to disclose the source of their mineral supplies and any purchases linked to the Congo.
Feature image courtesy of Nathan Makan