Many of today’s mainstream electronic products contain essential minerals like gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten; these minerals are scarce and are causing a broad range of problems like “corruption, child labor and slavery” in the third-world countries where the minerals are mined. In an effort to mitigate the damage done in developing nations, many large corporations including HP, Intel, and General Electric have sprung in to action by enacting a new fund known as Conflict Free Smelters (CFS).
The CFS program has arisen from a current U.S. law ordering companies to disclose any source minerals that they are using from conflict-areas. The program’s stated purpose is to lower costs for “smelters that seek to prove they’re conflict-free,” and upon entering the fund smelters will have a portion of the costs it would take to transition to conflict free minerals (up to $5,000 and half of their first successful audit) covered. (more…)