With the release of the new iPhone 4, various groups are attempting to raise consumer awareness about where the materials used in cell phones originate. The reality is sickening. Two opinion pieces posted within the last week, one by Brooke Smith and John Prendergast for the Huffington Post (shown above) and one by Nicholas Kristof (link below) for the New York Times, detail how our demand for cell phones, and lack of real corporate accountability are fueling the war in Congo, at least in part.
Essential minerals used in the production of cell phones, such as (Tin, tantalum, tungsten among others), are sourced from the Congo. The mineral trade is very lucrative there and those who are in control of the mines are the same people responsible for mass rape in the country along with indentured servitude and the use of child labor in these mines. Electronics companies claim that their products are free from conflict materials but this is because the suppliers tell them they are conflict free not because they are. This is why many people are calling for companies to take more interest and be more responsible for their supply chain.
If you are interested in learning more, please watch the video Brooke and her team put together which is posted here. To take action please visit http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/take-action and click on the Commit to Purchase Conflict Free Electronics, where you can email the 21 largest electronic companies and let them know you are committed to conflict free electronics. Tell your friends too. Until corporations know their customers are serious about conflict free materials, they won’t take the problem seriously. Make sure to check out Kristof’s article as well http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27kristof.html?scp=1&sq=death%20by%20gadget&st=cse