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Technology & Innovation

No One Was Harmed in the Making of This Cell Phone

A new report calls out electronics companies that are doing their part to ensure that the sourcing of materials they use in manufacturing isn’t fueling violence in war-torn areas.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

A report released this month by The Enough Project rates major electronics companies according to their progress towards creating supply chains that don’t encourage violence in source countries and regions. Intel and Motorola, which top the list, are two of four companies that have created specific guidelines for themselves regarding conflict minerals, filling the gap left by missing US government legislation. Some of these include chain tracing and third-party auditing of smelters. Other companies that are making progress include Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic.

What’s the Big Idea?

This attention to where materials are coming from has had an effect. According to the report, “armed groups in the Congo can now make only 35% of what they made two years ago by mining and selling tin, tantalum, and tungsten.” The report does not focus on other industries, such as jewelry and automotive, that also use conflict minerals, but some, including GE and Signet Jewelers, are slowly beginning to make changes. Ultimately, as is often the case, consumer demand will drive more companies to take action.

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