Did you know not all electronics manufacturing businesses are concerned about the environment and world issues? You might have heard about conflict or “blood diamonds” but it’s not just diamonds that are causing major human rights violations in some parts of the world. Here is a closer look at conflict minerals and what industry should be doing today and tomorrow.

What are Conflict Minerals?

In many countries today (especially in the Congo) minerals are being taken out of the earth at the expense of human suffering. In addition, proceeds from these materials are being used to fund terrorist activities and make wars. Any mined material meeting these criteria should be considered as a conflict mineral, but several minerals have been focused on because of their widespread use. Here are the main ones:

 * Gold
 * Tungsten
 * Tin
 * Tantalum

In 2008, (according to a special United Nations Group) armed organizations exploited about one hundred and eighty-five million dollars from conflict minerals. This money was used to fund violence in the Congo and was in part brought about by corrupt government officials working with these groups. A year earlier, the Pole Group reported that conflict minerals were the main funding source for war in North Kivu. This kind of problem was noted by the UN as far back as 2001.

The International Rescue Committee conducted a special study on deaths due to armed conflict in the Congo and delivered some startling results. Between 1998 and 2007, nearly five and one half million people were killed.

What is the Dodd-Frank Act?

The actual name of the law is the “Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”. It became law in 2010 and was created in response to the financial crisis at the time. The bill is all about financial regulatory reform and it affects far more than just the electronics manufacturing industry. The bill consolidated many federal agencies, included consumer protection reforms and included proposals to allow some bankrupt firms to receive extensions. Both the FDIC and Federal Reserve were affected.

How Does This Affect Electronics?

The Dodd-Frank Act addresses some issues of conflict minerals but there have been a lot of challenges to the law and not enough is being done. This is why it is important to use an electronics manufacturing company committed to eliminating the use of conflict minerals in their production methods and throughout their supply chain. Human suffering, oppression and violence are the world’s concerns. This is an important issue that everyone (including consumers buying electronic products) need to be aware of.