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Intel and HP lead the pack on conflict minerals

Intel and HP have made more progress than any other electronics companies on trying to make sure their products are free from ‘conflict minerals’.

New research shows the pair are well ahead of others when measured on the strides they have made since 2010. A study by the Washington DC-based Enough Project concludes HP and Intel have gone ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ on conflict minerals, and that it is now time for other companies to catch up.

The report, which looked in particular at attempts to source conflict minerals from eastern Congo, found that Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions, and Apple have established conflict minerals programmes ‘that pave the way for the rest of the industry’, while six other companies –SanDisk, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, RIM, and AMD – have ‘significantly improved their conflict free efforts’ by tracing back into their supply chains, carrying out due diligence, and joining a smelter audit programme.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nintendo remains at the bottom of the list and has ‘yet to make any known effort to trace or audit its supply chain’.

Sasha Lezhnev, co-author of the report and the Enough Project’s senior policy analyst, said it was now time for legislators around the world to implement new requirements on conflict minerals, ‘otherwise the Intels and HPs will be left unfairly holding the bag for a problem that belongs to thousands of companies that have been turning a blind eye to this problem for years’.

The report measure progress made since a similar study released in December 2010 by the Enough Project. It rates 24 global consumer electronics companies on their efforts to eliminate conflict minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold that fund armed groups in eastern Congo from their supply chains.

Despite poor showings by some, including Sharp, Nikon, and Canon, the 2012 rankings reveal an overall trend of improvement. The non-profit Enough Project says this progress has partly been spurred by a provision in the US’s Dodd-Frank Act that states companies must disclose what they are doing to address conflict minerals in their supply chains.

However, another spur has been direct consumer action, especially by college students, with more than 100 college campuses across the US and UK running boycott campaigns.

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 05:37am
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