Companies Still Cannot Trace Conflict Minerals


Despite a law mandating corporate disclosure, 70% of companies still cannot determine if their supply chains are conflict-mineral free, according to Bloomberg. This is a big wakeup call showing how much more progress still needs to be made before we achieve ethical global supply chains.

The minerals in question are important trace ingredients, used most often in electronics manufacturing. They typically come from sources in developing countries where there is active conflict. Too often, these minerals fund militias that commit not only environmental atrocities but also widespread human rights violations funded by the sales of the said minerals.

Back in 2010, a section of the Dodd-Frank Act required U.S. companies to investigate their supply chains for four specific conflict minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. The law went into effect three years ago, and many hoped that it would usher in an era of increased transparency. Unfortunately, it has yet to do so, meaning that conflict minerals are likely still lurking in many cell phones, TV’s, and other common consumer appliances today.

As conscious consumers, we hold the power with our wallets to support or not support companies that are transparent with their supply chains. Digging a little deeper behind the products you see on store shelves is a great way to know if you are purchasing materials that ignite overseas conflict. Buy from companies you trust and that are dedicated to transparent sourcing and corporate social responsibility.

Nithin is an eecosphere Impact Mill and freelance writer who focuses on cultural, economic, and environmental issues in developing countries with an aim at building channels of communication and collaboration around common challenges. He alternates between a home in California and working on social projects in Africa and Asia.