Green MEPS have expressed delight at the outcome of a vote today in the European Parliament on conflict minerals. Greens have been calling for mandatory rules to cover the whole of the supply chain of minerals used in electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, they feared that the majority of MEPs would not back their proposals and instead opt for a voluntary scheme for companies importing minerals from smelters and refiners outside the EU.
A surprised, but delighted, Molly Scott Cato MEP said:
“If European governments follow the advice of the Parliament, people can be reassured by today’s vote that in future their phones, tablets and other electronic devices will not be helping to finance armed groups and conflicts. But the backing for mandatory rules to cover the whole supply chain is even more welcome news for people in places like the Congo, where armed groups and Congolese military use profits from trading in minerals to finance campaigns of violence against civilians. Only full transparency on the source of all minerals will end the terror inflicted on so many, which is why today’s outcome is so welcome.”
Molly also urges consumers to back initiatives which guarantee conflict free minerals and support communities working in mines in some of the world’s poorest countries. She said:
“My team are demonstrating their commitment to conflict free minerals by switching to Fairphone smartphones when their phones need replacing. These are made using conflict-free minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is one sure way of knowing that your phone is contributing to economic development, not helping to fund wars and conflicts.”
Fairphone is a social enterprise that focuses on sourcing conflict-free minerals direct from the Democratic Republic of Congo ensuring support for alternatives to current mining practices that empower workers and improve the livelihoods of the local population. Fairphones are available through the Phonecoop.