The Rus­sian Mir­a­cle Work­ers

DNA/STEM CELL HEAL­ING COUR­SES Based on the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of quan­tum physics and the re­gen­er­a­tion tech­niques of with Carol Roberts • Coolan­gatta Beach QLD

Living Now - - Issues -

pro­cure­ment poli­cies, sup­port for cor­po­rate share­holder res­o­lu­tions when they come up, or general sup­port. At the lat­est count, more than 175 schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties had signed up. In­di­vid­u­als can lobby in­dus­try for con­flict-free elec­tron­ics and other af­fected items, with phone con­tact prob­a­bly be­ing a bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy be­cause a ref­er­ence num­ber can of­ten be ob­tained for fu­ture con­tact.

While clean­ing up cor­po­rate sup­ply chains is some­times pre­sented as close to im­pos­si­ble, this has been con­tra­dicted by re­cent progress.

In the elec­tron­ics field, semi­con­duc­tor chip maker In­tel has led the way, hav­ing spent two years since 2014 re­mov­ing con­flict min­er­als from its en­tire range. This was achieved by tak­ing the bold step of set­ting up a net­work of in­de­pen­dent NGOS to do au­dit­ing on the ground. Ap­ple also says that it has made im­prove­ments, with an in­creas­ing num­ber of smelters be­ing au­dited.

Un­til re­cently, any­one want­ing to buy a con­flict-free phone had to choose be­tween buy­ing sec­ond­hand or do­ing with­out. For­tu­nately a Dutch so­cial en­ter­prise called Fairphone launched the world’s first con­flict-free mo­bile in 2013, which sold sixty thou­sand units. Now it has re­leased the Fairphone 2, which is on track to be sold out­side Europe in 2016. This model is re­mark­able for be­ing the first mod­u­lar smart­phone, and is also de­signed to be re­pairable, with re­place­ment parts avail­able. Avail­abil­ity in other parts of the world is likely to be in­flu­enced by de­mand, and the com­pany re­ports that in­ter­est from Aus­tralia has been high. The Fairphone 2 sells for E525 (about AUD $780).

Fairphone is work­ing at con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, one mile­stone at a time, pro­vid­ing a high level of trans­parency to would-be pur­chasers. Re­cently it achieved a sup­ply of fair trade gold, and hopes even­tu­ally to achieve this for the other min­er­als too.

A fur­ther way to make a small im­pact on end­ing con­flict min­er­als is to avoid throw­ing un­wanted elec­tron­ics in the garbage, where they are li­able to leach toxic chem­i­cals in land­fill. If they still work, give them away via a net­work such as Freecy­cle. When elec­tron­ics are re­spon­si­bly re­cy­cled, min­er­als are har­vested, dis­plac­ing the need for new pro­duc­tion. Many coun­cils of­fer e-waste drop-off points, and the Mo­bile Muster pro­gram col­lects phones plus their bat­ter­ies, charg­ers and ac­ces­sories. n

RE­SOURCES

Raise Hope for Congo www.raise­hope­for­congo.org Con­flict-free Cam­pus Ini­tia­tive www.con­flict­freecam­pus.org Mo­bile Muster www.mo­bile­muster.com.au

Martin Oliver is a writer and re­searcher based in Lis­more, North­ern NSW.

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