Nintendo slammed for conflict mineral negligence

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Nintendo has made no effort whatsoever to avoid the use of conflict minerals, a campaign group has claimed.

In its latest report, the Enough Project also cites HTC and Sharp as offenders. At the other end of the scale, it says, Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions, and Apple are settling the lead for the industry.

'Conflict minerals' is the term for certain substances - in, tantalum, tungsten, and gold — that are mined to fund armed groups in eastern Congo. The war there has claimed 5.4 million lives so far.

Some electronics companies are making efforts to trace their supply chains back to the source, says Enough. Apple already requires its suppliers to demonstrate that minerals are conflict-free. Intel, meanwhile, has pledged to create its first conflict mineral-free chip by next year.

"HP and Intel have gone above and beyond the call of duty on conflict minerals. It is now time to level the playing field for all companies, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has a key role to play in its upcoming vote on the rules for the conflict minerals law on August 22," says senior policy analyst Sasha Lezhnev.

"The SEC should ensure that retailers and all firms that use the minerals are covered by the rules and that there is not a long phase-in period. Otherwise, the Intels and HPs will be left unfairly holding the bag for a problem that belongs to thousands of companies that have been turning a blind eye to this problem for years."

The peoposed law would require companies to disclose whether they use minerals from Congo. But, says actor and ethical mining entrepreneur Jeffrey Wright, it's important to make sure that trade with Congo doesn't just end altogether.

"Companies sourcing minerals from eastern Congo can invest in a way that serves both their own interests and the interests of local communities," he says.

"To help achieve this, more firms should join the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, invest in projects to source clean minerals in eastern Congo, and support social development initiatives in mining communities to foster sustained economic growth and long-term stability."