I am not a big fan of violent video games, so clearly I’m not about to support a company that produces a product that feeds into real life armed conflict. The question is not about which company makes the most violent video games, and the X-box or Nintendo question is no longer about which has the better graphics. It’s about which company has a conscience and how much it bothers consumers that people across the world may be harmed in the making of the toy they are about to buy.
The Enough Project’s Raise Hope For Congo campaign wants to raise consumer electronics awareness in time for the Black Friday shopping frenzy. According to the Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List they have released the X-Box is the clear choice in this selection. The consumer electronics products we use daily rely on certain minerals to function, the source of those minerals in some areas fund violent conflicts that have lasted decades. Companies are aware, and some have acted responsibly to make sure the resources they purchase are not part of the problem.
I only learned the truth about Conflict Minerals when listening to Photographer Marcus Bleasdale give his incredibly powerful National Geographic presentation at the Social Good Summit in NYC this past fall. The images he showed opened my eyes to the source of elements of the very cell phone in my hand. Suddenly I was connected to those people in the photographs.
Over 5.4 million dead. Over 2 million displaced. Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II.-www.enoughproject.org
I can honestly say I never thought I’d feel the emotion of gratitude when thinking about my son’s X-Box habit, but now that I know what I know, him playing the X-Box compared to the Nintendo, is a relief. Turns out according to the research done for the rankings, Nintendo is the worst company, dead last, in terms of accountability along the supply chain. Basically, they don’t care where they get them, or who gets hurt along the way, as long as they can make and sell their products. Microsoft, the maker of the X-Box, on the other hand has a green light ranking on The Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List marking it as one of the companies that has taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts, and started to help Congo develop a clean trade.
Our consumer dollars give us the power to hold the quality of lives of others in our hands. I am not talking about crushing fellow customers in the black Friday rush into Wal-Mart here. I am talking about becoming aware of how things are made, and choosing to be a conscientious consumer . When we have money to spend, we can choose to spend it on those companies who are actually making a positive impact in this world, as opposed to those who are just out to make a buck. You can see how the companies you are planning to buy from are rated here in this chart and then purchase accordingly, yes we do have a say in what goes on across the world. Our consumer dollars speak volumes on these issues, and the pressure on companies to take responsibility has turned the tide of the conflict in the Congo.
Last week, Alysha Atma of the Atma Foundation put it beautifully. We were on a conference call with ONE, ENOUGH Project, and JWW, all organizations working towards, preventing genocides, improving accountability and transparency from governments, and large companies. Alysha told us she was inspired to make a difference by her young son, when she realized that every action has a personal story behind it. she explained;
“He inspired me to put dinner table talk into action. I realized that every day is an opportunity to give back. I wanted him to learn that a responsibility comes with the good fortune of him having been born here.”
I love that sentiment, every day is an opportunity to give back. So what can we do?
-Share the message on Social Media to help raise awareness about the issue.
-Use the power of your consumer dollars wisely and with good conscience by check the The Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List before you buy so you know if you want to support that company or not.
The Raise Hope For Congo movement needs your help to increase demand for conflict-free electronics products. As a consumer, you can influence electronics industry leaders as they weigh whether or not to invest in making their supply chains transparent and producing verifiably conflict-free products. Tell companies that if they take conflict out of their products, you’ll buy them.
-Send an e-mail right now to electronics companies letting them know you care where they source their materials.