After the concept of sourcing ‘conflict free’ diamonds and metals has gained popularity the world over, globally leading chip maker Intel has now taken a pledge to support this cause. Intel recently announced at the CES in Las Vegas that it has pledged to refrain from sourcing raw material such as minerals from the company’s factories that are located in areas that predominantly witness human rights being abused.
The manufacturing process of computer chips relies heavily on elements such as tungsten, gold, and silver. However, these metals are typically sourced (mined and smelted) from countries where human rights violations are a major cause of concern. These countries include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In these regions, workers are subjected to poor treatment and the profits earned from operations here are typically used for funding armed conflicts among local factions that fight to gain a larger share in the mineral mining business here.
According to human rights experts, violent acts of abuse have mostly been noted in the conflicts that are carried out to gain control of the mineral wealth that abounds in this region.
Just six months into his job as the chief executive of Intel, Brian Krzanich announced at the CES that though the company considers minerals an important part of the chip making process, the people engaged in mining these minerals are far more important.
The United Nations Security Council Committee had, in a recent report stated that electronics products are often carriers of ‘conflict minerals’.
Krzanich further added that the company has taken the step to avoid sourcing ‘conflict minerals’ as it is concerned about the potential impact that could be caused by these problems on the supply chain. The company’s final decision comes after a complete audit of its supply chain.