Did you know violent militias and rebel groups control many mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries, reaping millions of dollars from the sale of minerals extracted by exploited workers to fund conflict and human rights violations? With a firm conviction that a corporation can make a positive difference in the lives of global citizens by changing the way it does business, Intel is leading efforts to help address this problem by striving to eliminate these so-called “conflict minerals” from our supply chain. And today we are proud to offer the world’s first conflict-free1 microprocessors as one major step on this continuing journey.
Most electronic devices, including cell phones, PCs, servers, and the processors that power them, contain gold, tantalum, tin, or tungsten. Some of these minerals, referred to as conflict minerals2, originate in the DRC, where violence, genocide, and other crimes against humanity occur. Armed militias and rebel groups exploit Congolese workers who mine the minerals, while reaping millions of dollars in profits for themselves. These profits are often used to fuel further violence.
Starting several years ago, Intel engaged in a thorough supply-chain effort to address the use of these conflict minerals in the manufacture of our products.2 A simple ban on minerals from DRC was not the answer, since it would deprive Congolese people of one of their few sources of income. Instead, Intel developed and implemented systems and processes to ensure the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten used in our products are not inadvertently supporting conflict in the DRC.
In support of our efforts, Intel led the development with industry partners of an audit and verification system at smelters where raw ore is refined into metals. To date, Intel has visited more than 70 smelters in 20 countries to provide education on conflict minerals and encourage participation in the Conflict Free Smelter Program and other independent 3rd party smelter validation audits. Intel continues to support efforts to develop strong systems that enable responsible sourcing from the DRC.
While many industries and companies use these minerals, Intel is recognized as a leader for its commitment, collaboration, and innovation in support of conflict-free supply chains and products. Intel has co-chaired industry working groups on the issue of conflict metals, recognizing that broad collaborative efforts are needed to solve this complex problem. In addition to a call-to-action to the electronics industry, the company has rallied for cross-industry action—calling on jewelry, automotive, medical instrumentation, and other manufacturers to put the systems in place to remove conflict metals from their supply chains and ultimately their products.
As a result of its efforts, Intel is manufacturing the world's first microprocessors validated as conflict-free1 for gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten.
However, Intel also understands this journey is far from complete. This problem cannot be solved by one company alone, and Intel encourages others, both industry and consumers alike, to join our continuing efforts to tackle this important global issue. By making faster and deeper strides toward conflict-free supply chains and fostering greater understanding and curiosity about what’s inside the products we buy, we can move more quickly toward improving the situation in the DRC and the surrounding region.
The people of Intel are working to do the right thing when it comes to sourcing ethically produced materials, even when it’s the hard thing to do. We are compelled by an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain that ensures our business and our products are not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the world.
We take pride in the fact that when consumers purchase products made with Intel® processors inside, they have taken an important step in making a responsible purchase choice. But Intel can’t do it alone. We invite other companies to join the cause to create conflict-free products. If we can do it, so can you.
Individuals have the greatest potential to drive change. As consumers, we can get curious about what is in the products we buy and ask the companies we buy from where they stand on conflict-free. Individuals who choose products that are not causing harm in other regions of the world can help drive necessary change.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Enough Project Policy Director Sasha Lezhnev and Actor and Activist Robin Wright discuss the quest for conflict-free technology and call upon the electronics industry to join the cause.
See and hear what they had to say >
Our Conflict Minerals Sourcing Policy outlines our commitment to addressing the issue of conflict minerals.
Our conflict minerals white paper details our journey to ensure our supply chains are “DRC conflict-free.”
Our latest Corporate Responsibility Report details how we are building the supply chain of the future.
Building the supply chain of the future is not only about ensuring resilience and reliability, it requires a commitment to being responsible across many factors, including conflict minerals.
Read about the efforts to raise awareness and take action to address human rights crimes in the DRC.
Visit The Enough Project >
We are committed to operating with transparency, as this holds us accountable and encourages two-way dialogue with our stakeholders. If you have a question or concern, please let us know.
1. We define “conflict-free” products as those manufactured with metals from smelters that have been validated by the EICC and GeSI CFS program, or other country of origin determination and due diligence, to be “DRC conflict free,” as that term is used in law.
2. The term “conflict minerals” is defined in federal law as columbine-tantalite (the metal ore from which tantalum is extracted); cassiterite (the metal ore from which tin is extracted); wolframite (the metal ore from which tungsten is extracted); and gold. The term broadly covers these minerals on a worldwide basis, but the focus of the law is on the possibility that the mining and sale of these minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries could be financing armed conflict.