A Shocking Revelation: Human Forced Labor in Africa for U.S. Consumerism

Dec 21, 2013 12:00 PM ET
Campaign: Conflict Minerals

Tis the season to be merry for large U.S. corporations fueling their holiday advertisements statewide and internationally. Most consumers are unaware that their shopping agendas are contributing to the internal conflict of Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo and its surrounding Eastern provinces. Chaos disrupts the regions of Africa with guerrilla warfare and grave human rights abuses as child laborers mine for the raw materials that are interwoven in many of the manufactured products we use today. 

The extracted materials are considered to be Conflict Minerals similar to the perception of Blood Diamonds. The minerals are otherwise known as the 3TG’s (Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten, and Gold) and can be found in almost all manufactured consumer products extending from jewelry, automobiles, daily household appliances, electronics, and even toothpaste. 

It’s a shocking revelation to those who have divulged in consumerism and have unintentionally sustained the bloodshed. However, who is really responsible for the usage of these minerals and the environment of which they are extracted? 

The U.S. government has legislated newly passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act SEC 1502, which states that all publicly traded U.S. companies must report and comply to mitigating any source of Conflict Minerals in their supply chains. The information must be disclosed by the filing deadline, May 31, 2014. A daunting task for several industries who must go well beyond Tier 1 and 2, down to the foreign smelters and mines. However with big name corporations, the bigger the name, the easier it is to slip through the cracks and avoid compliance. 

Conducting corporate due diligence and addressing the responsibility of outsourcing raw materials from regions of conflict is what NGO, Raise Hope for Congo advocates. The organization has put together a recent list of ranking for electronic companies that are enacting social responsbility of becoming Conflict-Free and those who are not. Large corporations, Intel, HP and Philips ranked as the highest for being transparent in their supply chains, with major brand names such as Canon, Nikon and Nintendo failing to support clean mineral trade. 

To source their products many companies look to outside sources for help. Companies like Source Intelligence, who are the only one with the total solution to conflict minerals compliance. Their analytics platform along with their Supplier Engagement Team, engages suppliers, collects, verifies and assesses conflict minerals related data and generates the required forms and reports needed to comply with the SEC's final rule.

To see a personalized demonstration of what Source Intelligence's platform can do for your company, click HERE

Make sure you are doing you part to contribute to a Conflict Free Congo and check out the details of Raise Hope for Congo’s company ranking list: http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/companyrankings