Women’s e news carries a note on a time honored business plan, paying locals to not interfere with production. This is probably not taught to high school kids in America, or college, but most of us benefit at least through cell phones, i pods, and computers on a daily basis. Best to ignore the externality? That is good citizenship?
Prendergast asked senators to support the Congo Conflict Minerals Act, which was introduced by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold in April of this year.
The bill aims to break the link between resource exploitation and armed conflict in eastern Congo by requiring companies trading minerals with Congo or neighboring states to disclose mine locations and monitor the financing of armed groups in eastern Congo’s mineral-rich areas.
“The sooner the illicit conflict minerals trade is eliminated, the sooner the people of Congo will benefit from their own resources,” said Prendergrast.
U.S. consumers, Prendergrast said, can also help by pressuring major electronic companies–from Apple to Sony–to certify that cell phones, computers and other products contain “conflict-free minerals,” a campaign tactic popularized by the Sierra Leone-based film “Blood Diamonds.”
Such a process would use a tracking system for components, similar to that developed in 2007 under the Kimberly Process. This international certification scheme ensures that trade in rough diamonds doesn’t fuel war, as it did in Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone during the 1990s.
Germany has already developed a pilot fingerprinting system for tin that could be expanded to other minerals and help establish certified trading chains, linking legitimate mining sites to the international market.
Dominique Soguel is Women’s eNews Arabic editor.