There are four minerals that the technology we use every day (phones, laptops, digital cameras etc.) could not function without - tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. These minerals are sourced in the Eastern Congo, where various militant groups control the mines and the local population. They force people, including children, into labour, tax them heavily and enjoy a large profit. The armed groups have used rape widely as a tool of war and a way to intimidate local people, and they have perpetrated some of the worst forms of torture. It is estimated around six million people have died and hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped, all while commanders earn millions of dollars each year selling these minerals for use in electronics.
Our ultimate goal is to entice the University's Committee on Sustainable Development to pass a resolution that will:
1.) call for the university to act with more transparency, responsibility, and due diligence when purchasing electronics
2.) call for the university to make a public statement demanding their suppliers to provide 'conflict-free' products and publish the origins of the minerals used in their products
3.) call for the university to sign itself into the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, therefore aligning St Andrews with Emory University, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, University of Pennsylvania, and our other partner universities involved in the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative
Tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold are essential to the performance of our SMART technology used in cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other high-end consumer electronics. These minerals are sourced from eastern Congo, home to the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. Currently, armed groups use rape and torture to destroy communities and control lucrative mines. They force workers into slavery, including children, loot villages, and perpetrate some of the worst forms of torture. Over six million people have died and hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped, all while commanders earn millions of dollars each year selling these minerals for use in electronics.
With this in mind,
I. I call for the top 100 software companies to revise their procurement policies with their resource suppliers in order to ensure ‘Conflict Resources’ are not and will not be present in their products;
II. I call for the top 100 software companies of 2011 (according to softwaretop100.org) to act with greater transparency, responsibility, and due diligence when buying from their respective suppliers;
III. I call for all electronics companies to display on the packaging which resources were used to create the product and the origins of where the resources were extracted;
IV. I demand the creation of the first ‘conflict-free’ product and an accessible ‘conflict-free’ market;
V. I petition both British Parliament and European Parliament to pass legislation that addresses and resolves the four aforementioned clauses;
VI. I petition St Andrews University to pass a resolution that addresses clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
I refuse to remain complicit in the trade of conflict minerals and demand change as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing my university join the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.