Most states in America are largely ignoring conflict minerals; in fact, many jewelers continue to sell conflict diamonds without batting an eye. But in California, that changed last month when the state agreed to pass a bill to stop companies from partnering with other companies that do business with conflict mineral providers as well as any armed groups in Congo, period. This historic piece of legislation will hopefully set the stage for many other states to follow suit—and they will, of course, if we put the pressure on them to do so.
It’s easy. We’re not asking that they stop selling electronics (though it’s clear that electronics companies are selling products way too frequently, with unnecessary updates and planned obsolescence in order to make us continue buying crap we don’t need) or even to buy 100% sustainable goods (though we should make such a demand!); we are simply asking that they not do business with the armed soldiers in the Congo who are kidnapping children and using them as soldiers, keeping human slaves to work in their mines until they die, and systematically raping women as a weapon of war so frequently that it is simply to be expected. And frankly, if they want to do business with such people and support these heinous acts against humanity, do we really want to give them our business?
Click here to take the Conflict Minerals Pledge and let businesses know that you will not give them one cent until they agree to stop dealing with conflict mineral dealers. You can also look up what items contain conflict minerals—from cell phones to laptops to digital cameras—and make sure that you know where and from whom you are buying. You can call manufacturers directly and ask about where their materials came from. Gold and tungsten, or Wolframite, are frequent minerals mined in war zones, as are Cassiterite and Coltan, or Columbite-tantalite. Specifically ask about these ingredients if a person decides to give you the run around.