Last updated: October 2016
The electronics industry is notorious for low wages, excessive overtime, exploitation of migrant and student workers, and crucially, a lack of the ‘freedom of association’ workers need to be able to improve their conditions.
There are also multiple issues around mining for materials used; hazardous chemicals leading to deadly health problems and pollution; electronic waste and energy use. The speed at which the electronics market has grown, and the culture of frequent upgrades, just increases the strain.
Campaigners have long identified revenue from the sale of mined elements as a key driver of civil wars and conflict in Southern countries.
We look at what’s happened since the landmark piece of US legislation that was passed in 2010 to disrupt the trade in ‘conflict minerals’ from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act.
We rate all the companies on how they make sure that their minerals are from conflict-free sources in the DRC. Crucially, companies must remain committed to sourcing minerals from the region. See our feature on conflict minerals for more information on the current situation in the DRC. A section is included in each guide detailing how the companies rate for each product we have covered.