A provision to the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act if passed, will, “require companies to report each year whether or not their products contain any conflict minerals.” Conflict minerals are mined in Eastern Congo, and include, “cassiterite, wolframite, coltan, and gold, “according to Wikipedia.
Many of these materials are used to make cell phones, computers, mp3 players as well as many other electronic devices. Stopping manufactures to buy these minerals from the Congo would loosen the tight hold the Congolese National Army and various armed rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda have on the mineral mines.
The provision comes during the Congo’s 50th anniversary of Independence. Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times describes the brutality in the Congo, “I’ve never reported on a war more barbaric than Congo’s and it haunts me. Warlords finance their predations in part through the sale of mineral ore containing tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold.”
Hilary Clinton has gone on the record for support of this law stating, “that conflict minerals have funded a cycle of conflict [in Congo] that has left more than 5 million people dead since 1998, displaced countless more, and spawned an epidemic of sexual and gender-based violence,” reports The Hill. Steve Jobs has also gone on the record stating that, “we require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict few materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it’s a very difficult problem.”
HP goes on to say, “HP applauds Congress and President Obama for including conflict minerals language in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. We believe this provision will help provide much-needed transparency in companies’ supply chains, reduce the purchase and use of conflict minerals known to fund the ongoing armed conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and thus help reduce some of the factors that have contributed to the civil war there.”
The new law would require manufacturers to research if any minerals from the Congo were in fact used, and if they are they need to determine where the mine is located that the mineral came from. If the minerals are conflict free—they will then be able to label their product as conflict mineral-free.
Being more knowledgeable about products like these are imperative, not only for business owners but everyone. As a business owner it is your job to ensure your company is making smart decisions across the board. When it is time to purchase electronic devices for your company, do a little research and see if the products you are contemplating on purchasing are conflict mineral free.
Shannon Suetos is an expert writer on how to buy debt leads based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as debt consolidation at Resource Nation.