As a consumer, what do you look for when shopping for a computer? Price, size, and weight are often top of mind along with the size of the hard disk to determine how much memory it has and the speed of the processor so we can know how many applications we can run simultaneously but have you really ever thought beyond that to think about what’s really inside your computer? Because it matters.
Earlier this year I attended the Social Good Summit as a United Nations Fellow where I heard from incredible speakers about ways technology and new media can create solutions for the problems that our communities face to shape a better future. Innovators, activists, and entrepreneurs from around the world met at Social Good Summit to expand the conversation about how we can all serve as powerful agents of change. One of the speakers was Brain Krzanich, the Chief Executive Office of Intel, who spoke about conflict minerals and how Intel has worked to ensure that minerals in their microprocessors are conflict-free.
What are conflict minerals?
According to Intel…
Tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold are referred to as conflict minerals. They are integral to the technology and other things we rely on every day. Everything from laptops, phones, and tablets to cars, airplanes, lighting, and jewelry contain tin, tantalum, tungsten, and/or gold, which are referred to as “conflict minerals”. Militias and rebel groups sometimes fund their violent conflict with money derived from the sale of these minerals.
These minerals are mined in the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The historical conflicts that began when war started in the mid-1990s have led to warlords, rebels, and militia groups taking over mines where mineral extraction has been
linked to corruption, violence, and killing. Children have been forced to join militias. Others have been forced into slave labor. The money from this illegal activity has been used to fund militant violence and human rights atrocities in the DRC for nearly 20 years.
While tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold are in many of the items we use on a daily basis, we can be conscious consumers and ensure that the products we’re buying are made with minerals that are conflict-free.
Intel Inside Means Conscious Shopping
Hearing from Brain Krzanich at Social Good Summit was eye opening. I knew about conflict minerals but I didn’t know about Intel’s commitment. Nor did I know that every Intel microprocessor manufactured in 2014 is conflict-free and that Intel doesn’t pass on any extra costs to consumers for it’s corporate responsibility initiatives. According to Brian, “Every microprocessor we ship is conflict free and we haven’t raised the price one cent.”
For the past five years, Intel has been working to create a smarter supply chain system by working with partners across industries to develop a standard for device makers to trace the source of minerals used in their products. While Intel has met a goal of making their 2014 microprocessors conflict free, they are aiming to have all the products manufactured in 2016 and beyond conflict free.
How You Can Help
As consumers, it’s important to know about conflict-free minerals and the work that Intel is doing to responsibly source minerals for their processors. While a microprocessor is such a small thing, Intel’s efforts are huge in that they’re taking money away from militant groups in hopes of putting an end to human rights violations and violence sooner rather than later.
And your money speaks volumes.
In addition to being a savvy consumer, here are other things you can do to help.
From Intel’s 5 Steps to Conflict-Free Consumer Advocacy
Buying smart means supporting the responsible sourcing of minerals that are listed as conflict minerals from companies that are pioneering this change in the consumer electronics industry buy looking carefully at the products you’re purchasing. I know I can feel good about what I’m buying when I see Intel’s name attached to any device whether it’s a tablet, laptop, fitness wearable, Mac or PC.
The newest Intel product that’s been added to my tech arsenal is my Surface Pro 3. I didn’t even know this Intel 2 in 1 device used Intel microprocessors until I started working with them as a member of the Intel Smart Squad! I’ve been a long time fan of the Microsoft Surface family but this newest 2 in 1 features an Intel i3 processor that provides the power of a full featured laptop with the mobility of a tablet. It’s the perfect device for travel since it allows me to quickly connect to OneDrive to access all of my documents for working seamlessly even when on the go!
My Surface 3 features a larger screen than my Surface RT, Pro, and Pro 2 making it a bit more weighty but the screen size is absolutely lovely for split screen multitasking using two applications at once. The device itself is a slim 9.1 mm and the intgrated kickstand now features multiple positions. I also appreciate how there’s a SD card slot so I can upload photos to OneDrive for access at home or on a different computer.
Plus I appreciate that it runs on an Intel processor that is free of conflict minerals.
This holiday season, be sure to ensure that the devices that you’re buying use Intel microprocessors. It may be a small component inside a larger device but purchasing Intel-based products makes a huge difference.
For more information about conflict minerals and how you can be a conscientious shopper, please read:
- What Intel is Doing in the Congo: Working to Make Products Conflict-Free
- 5 Steps to Conflict-Free Consumer Advocacy
- Why Conflict-Free Matters in Your Everyday Life
As a member of the Intel Smart Squad, I received product in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own and based on learnings from the Social Good Summit that I attended as a United Nations Fellow. Some information and images were taken from the Intel.com/conflictfree for the purposes of this post. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post.
#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.