There are times when the actions of do-gooders makes me want to kneel down and weep bitter tears of pain. One such is the latest proposal from Global Witness on the subject of conflict minerals. They’ve decided that one particular program, one massively expensive and destructive of human wealth, should not be curtailed, adjusted or made more efficient: no, they’ve decided that it should be expanded. Forgive me for having rather strong views on this but it’s all happening in a corner of my working world and I can see what they’re doing wrong.
The background is over the use of conflict minerals in the supply chain. Conflict minerals are those coming from war torn areas of the world and it’s most certainly true that we’d like everyone to stop using minerals mined using slave labour, rape to keep people in line, minerals where the profits go to feed the armed gangs that control those mining areas. I agree with this aim and desire: it’s the methods proposed to achieve this goal that are so dire that they cause that pain in me.
For the latest suggestion is that the European Union should bring in regulations similar to those in Dodd Frank. This would require all companies to investigate their supply chains and thus check on whether they, or any of their suppliers, are using said conflict minerals. The problem with this being that this is a vastly expensive method of reaching this mutually desired goal. Continue Reading →