Intel Becomes the First Tech Company to Make its Processors ‘Conflict-Free’

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Intel has taken a major leap forward in responsible sourcing. Starting now, all Intel processors will be produced entirely with conflict-free minerals. It becomes the first major U.S. technology company to have made such a commitment to only source minerals mined outside the quagmire of war and human rights violations that afflict parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries.

Intel has been working for the last four years to determine the sources of four critical metals used widely in electronics manufacturing: including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold. The company’s endeavor comes amid concerns that global sourcing of minerals from mines controlled by armed groups contributes to the continuance of conflict.

Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich, who assumed the position last year, said the company will ensure that every piece of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold used in its microprocessors will come from smelters that only source conflict-free minerals. The company has been making efforts for a long time to track down more than 60 smelters in 20 countries, which provide it with crucial minerals, and then auditing them for where the minerals were sourced from.

Eastern Congo, a region that is rich in minerals, has been ravaged by nearby two decades of armed conflict between the government, rogue soldiers and various ethnic groups. According to a law passed in the United States in 2010, every U.S. public company is required to report whether its products contain minerals sourced from rebel-held mines in Congo.

Many electronics manufacturers find it difficult to comply with this law because of the nature of the business. A single product such as a mobile phone can contain components from hundreds or even thousands of suppliers. Intel has traditionally relied on relatively few suppliers for its processors. Other manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple and HP are also taking steps to identify their smelters and making their sourcing as conflict-free as possible.

Source: CIO Today

Image Credit: Flickr via Ryan Holst